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Spoons up Bellevue, Salt & Straw ice cream is coming to you

Salt & Straw continues to grow in the Seattle area with a new scoop shop coming to downtown Bellevue.

"We started in Portland, and we had tons of people from Seattle ... they would drop by and always say, 'When are you opening in Seattle? Please come to Seattle,'" Malek said.

It didn't take long for Malek to answer those fans. Scoop shops opened in Ballard and Capitol Hill in 2018. A spot in Kirkland followed. Salt & Straw plans to expand into Vancouver, Wash., in January.

A Bellevue shop expected in late February is another response to fans. It will be located at 10300 NE 8th Street, next to Bellevue Square. About 20-25 people will be hired for the nearly 1,300 foot shop.

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Salt & Straw is among the handful of businesses that have emerged from Portland's culinary scene. With just a small ice cream cart, Malek started the business with her cousin in 2011.

The business quickly opened up brick and mortar shops, and became known for its frequently changing menu with adventurous flavors. Those flavors are still crafted in Salt & Straw's Portland kitchen, before being shipped out to Oregon and Washington where it has expanded.

Wherever Salt & Straw has opened up, it can be easily spotted by the long lines through the door.

"You don't really see people standing there on their phones [in line]," Malek said. "It's one of the only places you see people talk to strangers. We've had marriage proposals and job offers in line.

"They're talking about the new flavors this month, and 'you got to try this.' It's not uncommon that someone gets to the front of the line to pay and they'll pay for the person behind them, who they just met in line."

Malek called Seattle home before she moved to Portland. Long story short: She went to Portland for a birthday party, met a guy at a bar, and they've been together ever since.

"I moved to Portland for love," Malek said. "I still have my heart in Seattle. I love Seattle."

For Malek, opening stores in the Seattle area feels like coming back home and sharing what she has been up to with friends and family.

"When we showed up in Seattle, folks came out from the food community to support us," Malek said. "Tom Douglas did a collaboration with us. Also, our favorite, Rachel from Rachel's Ginger Brew."

Rachel Marshall died in late April this year.

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Salt & Straw says it intends to continue partnering with the region's culinary crafters. I has previously worked with Seattle's Beecher's Cheese, Boon Boona Coffee, Ezell's Chicken, Fran's Chocolate, Wunderground Coffee, and Woodinville's Métier Brewing to craft new flavors.

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