Salt & Straw, the Portland-based ice cream shop founded by Tyler and Kim Malek, has amassed a dedicated following over the years for its inventive flavors and impossibly rich, creamy consistency—and as it turns out, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is a fan, too. This week, Fast Company reports that he and business partner Dany Garcia announced they had invested in the brand, joining Danny Meyer's private equity fund, Enlightened Hospitality Investments, as investors, alongside Oregon Venture Fund and KarpReilly, another private-equity firm.
In a statement, Garcia said that Salt & Straw's "commitment to connecting with local communities through their storytelling and creativity" made the investment a natural fit. And indeed, in a previous interview with Food & Wine, Tyler Malek explained that the ingredients and experience at each scoop shop are tailored to the location. There are some classic flavors, like Honey Lavender and Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons, that are made at all shops. However, a San Francisco ice cream might feature products from local business Dandelion Chocolate; Seattle, on the other hand, might draw from Beecher's Cheese.
Other than that, there aren't many details available about the partnership, including the amount that Johnson and Garcia invested; however, according to Fast Company, Salt & Straw will release a special-edition "Dwanta Claus" pack of holiday flavors in celebration of the partnership. In other words? Ice cream inspired by "The Rock." We can definitely get behind that.
"Throughout the creation process we had fun tasting flavors back and forth trying to dial in the ultimate flavor profile," Malek told Food & Wine about Dwanta Claus. "Hint, there is NEVER enough peanut butter nor brownies. I love how these flavors turned out. The textures, flavor names, colors—everything about these ice creams came together to create an experience that just feels bespoke for this partnership."
2019 marks a big year for Salt & Straw overall. On April 30, the brand released an ice cream cookbook loaded with recipes, such as Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons and Buttered Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, making our list of the most anticipated spring cookbook releases. Then, this past October, Salt & Straw announced even more exciting exciting news in the form of its first East Coast location in Miami. The scoop shop will debut in the city's Wynwood neighborhood in spring 2020, while a second South Florida location in Coconut Grove will follow in the summer. Malek said Panther Coffee, The Salty Donut, and Wynwood Brewing will be local partners.
This article has been updated to include a quote from Tyler Malek.