Salt & Straw opens a corner store in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights.

The popular ice cream shop Salt & Straw has brought its creative flavors to San Francisco, along with the notoriously long weekend lines.

Salt & Straw, known for its handmade ice cream and flavors such as honey lavender and salted honey marshmallow, has plans for two locations in the city. Two weekends ago, it opened its first shop in Pacific Heights on the corner of Fillmore and Sacramento.

I’ve tried Salt & Straw in my previous trips to Portland and have always enjoyed its hearty ice cream with flavors that reminds one of an old fashioned fountain shop. So I decided to check out its San Francisco store this afternoon, and saw the familiar long lines (even at its original store in Portland’s Alphabet District in the Northwest area it still draws a long queue on weekends despite having three other locations).

The line must have been 40-plus people deep, and took me nearly 70 minutes to get into the store to order my ice cream. Luckily, I had nothing to do, but this is the kind of lines that doesn’t make sense (and only in food-obsessed San Francisco) considering that Smitten Ice Cream has a location just a block away.

The novelty is definitely an attraction, and so are some of the unusual flavors, all made with locally sourced ingredients, such as San Francisco’s Sightglass Coffee and Dandelion Chocolate. There are a few special flavors available for a limited time to celebrate the San Francisco opening, such as cinnamon ancho and cajeta (with goat cheese from Tomales Farmstead Creamery) and “green apple mayo sherbet” with ingredients from Sonoma and Berkeley.

I actually stuck with classic flavors, including the Roasted Strawberry Tres Leches, which is strawberry ice cream with swirls of strawberry jam and chunks of tres leche cake, and the almond brittle with salted ganache, which is vanilla ice cream with the bits of brittle and chocolate ganache.

A single scoop is a pricey $5, but I have to say it is a pretty big scoop. The flavors are quirky like Portland, but it’ll be interesting to see what San Franciscans think about the texture, which might be a bit thicker than some of the creamy styles like Humphry Slocombe and Ici. But Salt & Straw’s prominent store (and plans for a second location in Hayes Valley) is a sign that it’s here to play.

The deets: Salt & Straw, 2201 Fillmore St. (at Sacramento), San Francisco. PH: 415.829.2803. Open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Website

Quirky signs at the counter

Roasted strawberry tres leche in a sugar cone.

Making fresh waffle cones

Almond Brittle with Salted Ganache

Some of the other sweets for sale at the store.

One Response to Salt & Straw Takes Over San Francisco’s Pacific Heights

  1. Carolyn Jung says:

    OMG, 40 people in line!?!? I have had their fabulous flavors in Portland. So fun to see them in our area now. 😉