“They thought we were nuts,” said Lisa Malcolm, commenting on the folly of opening their ice cream shop, Frite & Scoop, in the fall 2014. “An ice cream shop? In winter? In Astoria? Who does that?”
Kevin and Lisa Malcolm decided they wanted to leave Seattle for a smaller, more intimate community near the water and found Astoria to be the perfect place. But then the question loomed, “What do we do now?”
“We thought of opening a shop of some kind and couldn’t believe that a place like Astoria didn’t have a homemade ice cream shop,” Lisa said. “Kevin had been experimenting with ice cream at home for a few years and he thought that could be a niche we could fill.”
But Lisa added that she doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth. “I have savory, salty cravings,” she said, “so we considered what other treats people might like. I love French fries. So. We discussed our options and thought ‘let’s do both.’”
Each of them are now happy in their own way, doling out sweet and savory treats to the delight of visitors along the Astoria Riverwalk. This year, their shop placed first in the Readers’ Choice Awards in two categories, Best Dessert and Best Frozen Treats. The location out their front door, the Astoria Riverwalk, also placed first for Best Place to Walk.
The Malcolms are serious about making everything from scratch.
Kevin prepares every batch of French custard style ice cream with flavors changing weekly, so you never know what crazy delicious combo you might get to try.
There are, however, two signature flavors that remain on the menu: Hokey Pokey, a sweet cream custard with home-made toffee honeycomb that they discovered in New Zealand and Chef’s Choice, Kevin’s malted custard, blackberry swirl and caramel sauce invention.
“We’re always coming up with new concoctions,” Kevin said.
“We have a weekly production meeting with each other to discuss our flavor map and to see what worked the week before and what wasn’t so popular. Those two (Hokey Pokey and Chef’s Choice) were crowd favorites so we’ve kept them from the beginning.”
Kevin said Astoria Fog, a mix of Earl Grey and vanilla custard with swirls of blackberry curd, has become extremely popular so it’s a contender to be featured week after week. He also makes certain to have available two chocolate choices, including one that’s vegan.
“Hokey Pokey is such a hit that it has it’s own freezer so it’s always available,” said Lisa, who manages the shop and makes the ice cream mix-ins as well as all the fry sauces — she’s the pickle sauce queen. “We never want to disappoint anyone who wants a certain flavor, but we only make one batch of each flavor for the week. If we happen to run out, favorite varieties will usually resurface the following week. It’s so fun to keep experimenting and mixing it up though.”
“If we had a huge crew we could make more of each flavor, but we feel we would lose quality control.” Kevin added. “All of the food in the shop is made by hand by us. We taste everything and trust our own taste buds. We try our darndest to maintain a certain standard. That’s so important to us.”
“It’s a challenge doing it all ourselves,” continued Lisa. “When it comes right down to it hard work comes naturally. Both of our fathers were farmers and we learned about work at an early age. We’re good at what we do and we love it. It’s fun watching people’s faces when they try a new taste. Especially the little kids. And we’re so lucky to have two wonderful shop helpers who keep things rolling.
“The one thing we don’t do well is social media. The review culture just stresses us out. Kevin and I are basically introverted, so we’re happy, heads down, working hard and doing what we love.”
“We are so thankful we landed here in Astoria,” Lisa added. “The community rallied around us and we made it through the hard times of the pandemic, even though there were days we thought we might have to give up.
“We want to give a shout out to everyone who supported two people from out of town who were crazy enough to open a fries and ice cream shop in winter. We found out after our first year that so many people thought we were out of our minds. We are so grateful to all of you who had the grace not to tell us that you thought we would fail. Thank you, Astoria.”
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