Photo by Brinn Willis
Salty's Ice Cream is making à la mode easy as pie with its new delivery service.
Salty’s Ice Cream, like so many wonderful things, came about because of a spontaneous good deed. A spouse spots a gift she thinks may make for a fun afternoon, brings it home, and voila: A fun afternoon becomes a hobby becomes a job. In Salty’s case, Matt Coats’ wife, Holli, snapped up an old ice cream maker for him at a thrift store, and his obsession with creating new, unusual flavors took hold.
Sharing the ice cream Coats made in his kitchen resulted in a resounding chorus of “You should start your own company!” from friends and loved ones. “It seemed so daunting, until a friend in Lynchburg who has a cider doughnut cart told me to come down and get a feel for it there," he says. "And I got the bug. The name of my cart came about because I tend to like savory-sweet desserts.”
The ice cream itself isn’t salty, but he occasionally uses savory elements like herbs or goat cheese. “I made a white chocolate Parmesan flavor once and I was so excited about it, but I just couldn’t get the texture right," he shares. "But the flavor was amazing, like a cheesecake with that parmesan richness … I really love the opportunity to make the more exotic artisan flavors.” Salty’s first offerings included vanilla and jam (raspberry-blueberry jam at first, then peach), salted caramel, horchata, and dark chocolate chipotle.
Coats first parked the Salty’s mobile cart on Memorial Day in 2015, in Carytown, but folks just weren’t stopping for ice cream — not even for free samples, which makes one question the sanity of this fair city. So when a vending opportunity at The Market at Magnolia Green in Moseley popped up, he took it, and hasn’t looked back; plenty of farmers market goers were looking for ice cream, and plenty of farmers had fantastic ingredients to inspire new Salty’s flavors. Coats decided to make a special Magnolia Green-sourced short run flavor every one to two weeks and feature it at the market, and though he's currently through selling at Magnolia, you can find those flavor combinations again when the market reopens next summer.
“The sweet corn raspberry used corn from a vendor, and I did a coffee batch using Adbibo," Coats recalls. "Another vendor had a great peanut butter sauce, so I made a dark chocolate peanut butter. I loved the sense of community it created, using the local ingredients.” For kids and ice cream lovers who favor the classics, Salty’s always keeps a couple of beloved stalwart flavors in the rotation.
Now that the weather’s getting chilly, there’s an important niche that Salty’s can fill: the need for à la mode. Granny’s pies may be even better with a scoop of Salty’s vanilla, and to make it easy for you, Salty’s is offering a subscription service with optional home delivery, for an additional cost. This Thanksgiving, you can pick up a quart ($15) of its vanilla bean from various locations throughout the city, depending on your own location, or get it delivered. And starting in December, you can grab a pint ($8) or quart of vanilla or the flavor of the month (such as eggnog and speculoos cookie), or opt for delivery.