Local Maker Spotlight: Juju’s Iced Cream and Frozen Custard
When the nostalgic, family-run Grandpa’s Soda Fountain and Ice Cream Parlor in downtown Olympia closed its doors in 2019, locals were heartbroken. But their mission, maintaining a family-friendly treat shop where everyone feels welcome, was quickly adopted by Julie “Juju” Guarino, another Olympia local who identified with those same qualities of service.
“We had the good fortune of opening in March of 2020,” recalls, Juju. “In hindsight, if we’d known about the pandemic, we may not have done it, but when I saw Grandpa’s was for sale, I simply couldn’t resist.” Talk to any local or visitor who’s been to Juju’s and they’ll tell you they’re glad she and her team persevered. They had to close up shop several times throughout the pandemic, like pretty much every restaurant in Olympia, which was frustrating for both Juju and her customers. “For a while, people didn’t know if we were open or not.”
Juju and her husband, Jef, also own Cascadia Grill, a Northwest brasserie just a few doors down on 4th Avenue. Having that restaurant experience, along with a lot of “ego and hubris” inspired Juju to turn Grandpa’s into the rainbow-hued wonderland it is today.
If you eat first with your eyes (me, hand raised, waving frantically), one look at the shop’s colorful and whimsical interior makes your brain scream “candy!” Juju kept the black and white checkered floor and the vintage red vinyl barstools, but added her personal touch by installing a row of antique theater seats and encouraging various local artists to create window art. The rainbow spectrum of colors is repeated throughout the shop but most whimsically in the brightly colored umbrellas that hang from the ceiling, making it the perfect place to pop in for some sunny inspiration to escape the PNW rain.
But you came for the sweet treats, right? If you’re looking for old-school “iced cream” (not ice cream, because there is no ice in their cream), insanely smooth frozen custard, and a sweet vegan option, this is your happy place. Visiting Grandpa’s shop before it closed, Juju knew people would love to see that continued, so she kept that as a traditional option for her guests. But as a PNW transplant originally from the Midwest, Juju wanted to share her love of frozen custard with Olympia.
Softer and creamier than iced cream, Juju’s makes their frozen custard in-house with cream, just like their iced cream, but that cream has a higher milk fat percentage, and it is also includes egg yolks. There aren’t many frozen custard shops in Washington, but Juju is on a mission to introduce the velvety delight to Olympians.
If you love cold treats but are looking for a vegan option, Juju’s got you here, too. “It’s Olympia, so you’ve got to have some vegan options, right?” Juju laughs. “That's how Cascadia Grill is pattern too. We’ve got steak, seafood, and burgers, but we also have a whole separate vegan and vegetarian menu. We just kind of mimicked what we were doing there here at Jujus. The vegan soft-serve (the flavor options change daily) is lighter and softer than their iced cream options and is made with top-quality plant-based milks and fresh fruit juices.
Like a lot of local makers, quality ingredients are important to Juju. When you’re making a custard that has only a few ingredients and comes in a few basic (yet classic) flavors, the ingredients have to be top quality. She’s using top-notch cream, the best vanilla, and gourmet chocolate to produce their custard.
Ordering your frozen treat is an easy, 3-step process:
- Pick your delicious frozen whatever: iced cream, frozen custard, or vegan soft serve
- Pick your vessel: sugar cone, cake cone, waffle cone, waffle cup, cup and spoon
- Add your toppings: you get to DIY the heck out of your cold treat with a multitude of delicious, sweet toppings
Summer is in full swing and while we’re still being mindful of Covid flare-ups, Juju’s is here to preach the gospel of frozen custard to the unbaptized masses, and they’re not going anywhere anytime soon.
Spend the weekend and find dining, lodging, events, festivals and entertainment ideas at www.experienceolympia.com. Make sure to share your best shots with us by tagging social posts #ExperienceOlympia and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter (@Experience_Oly) and Instagram (@ExperienceOly).
JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER
More Local Food Highlights
Juju’s Iced Cream & Frozen Custard
208 4th Ave. W Olympia, Washington 98501 (360) 810-2263
Juju's Iced Cream & Frozen Custard208 4th Ave. W
Olympia, Washington 98501
222 Capitol Way N #116 Olympia, Washington 98501 (360) 539-6797