by Mark Van Streefkerk
South End ice cream fans have good cause to celebrate — Creamy Cone Cafe officially opened in Rainier Beach on Memorial Day weekend. The Black-owned, family-run ice cream cafe at 9433 Rainier Avenue South features root beer floats, sundaes, in-house-made waffle cones, coffee drinks, and 12 rotating ice cream flavors from local creameries.
Decked out in playful neon colors, including a small selection of outdoor seating, Creamy Cone Cafe brings sweet treats to a community that was in need of another ice cream shop, especially as the summer heats up. Creamy Cone Cafe is one of two ice cream destinations in Rainier Beach, in addition to Filipino American-owned Laina’s Ice Cream in The Stonehouse Cafe on Lake Washington.
For owner and South End resident Ashanti Mayfield, her sister Alexis Jones, and their families, ice cream is a regular part of family time and celebrations. But getting to an ice cream shop can be a bit of a drive for people in the Rainier Beach neighborhood. Ashanti and her family would frequent Full Tilt Ice Cream in Columbia City or Cold Stone Creamery in Tukwila. “Between those two, those were our cheer-up moments — going to get ice cream and just having a family outing together,” Ashanti said. “As far as ice cream goes, the South End needed [a shop].”
Creamy Cone Cafe is a family production: Ashanti and Alexis worked together to brainstorm the business and research the process to opening an ice cream shop. They originally hoped to open as early as last summer, but taking the time to transform the space and source their selections took almost a year. Sampling ice cream from local creameries was a perk the whole family was happy to help with.
Ashanti’s teenage kids diligently studied for their food handlers’ permits to become expert scoopers. Ashanti’s partner — and her kids’ father — helped with the buildout. Alexis came up with the Creamy Cone logo: three neon C’s in magenta, aqua, and lime green making up ice cream scoops on top of a waffle cone. Ashanti and Alexis’ mother Bridgit Collins has a background in interior design and helped with the aesthetic transformation of the space.
Alexis lives in Tacoma and has a separate full-time job. Last Sunday, her mother and husband looked after her three kids while she helped open the shop with Ashanti. When she returned home in the afternoon, Bridgit drove over to help Ashanti close the shop. “It’s totally a collaborative effort,” Alexis said. “It’s a lot of people helping. It’s totally a tribe and a community making this thing work.”
It was Alexis who helped give Ashanti the extra push she needed to open on Memorial Day weekend. Creamy Cone Cafe had a soft opening for family and friends on May 28 and an official opening on May 29. “If it wasn’t for [Alexis] I would have kept finding little things to convince myself that we weren’t ready,” Ashanti said. “I’m happy she was like, ‘We’re going to do this.’ We were ready.”
The sisters were ecstatic about the warm reception they got from the community. Despite a lack of official advertising, South Enders gave Ashanti and Alexis the confirmation and encouragement they needed on their opening weekend. Most of their customers found out about the new shop through word-of-mouth, the Next Door app, and the Rainier Beach Facebook page.
“The Rainier Beach community really catapulted us to shine so early on because of their community. Rainier Beach is amazing. …” Alexis said. “They showed up and they showed out.”
Creamy Cone Cafe has a few ambitious future goals, including offering biscuits and gravy (with vegan and gluten-free options), and possibly making their own ice cream in-house. They also want to develop their coffee program and add an experienced barista to their staff.
Creamy Cone Cafe’s current ice cream selections are Banana Pudding, Watermelon Sorbet (Vegan), Passion Fruit Guava (Vegan), Piña Colada (Vegan), Birthday Cake, Pecan Praline, Mint Chip, Toffee Coffee Crunch, Cookies and Cream, Strawberry, Rocky Road (Vegan), and Salted Caramel Swirl. Their monthly special through the end of June is half-off ice cream sundaes on Sunday. Current hours are Thursday through Saturday from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., and Ashanti said extended hours are coming soon.
“We are excited to be on this journey, and look forward to serving and giving back to the community that we love!” Ashanti said.
Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article stated in error that Creamy Cone Cafe was the only ice cream shop in Rainier Beach. We have corrected the text to acknowledge Laina’s Ice Cream in The Stonehouse Cafe on Lake Washington.
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