A woman-owned, ultra-premium ice cream shop opens Thursday near Eastern Market, so it’s your turn to get the scoop.
Moorenko’s Ice Cream will open at 12 p.m. Thursday, Sept 16 in the former Trickling Springs Creamery location (720 C St. SE). That business suddenly announced they were shutting down operations almost exactly a year ago, leaving the furnished 766 square foot ice cream shop vacant.
Moorenko’s founder Susan Soorenko said that the turnkey situation seemed ideal. But, of course, there were a few unforeseen delays. After passing through a process made slightly more cumbersome by COVID, the team got their business license Monday, only for Soorenko to discover some of the freezers were not working and needed to be repaired prior to opening.
Moorenko’s dairy products come from grass-fed cows raised on small, family-owned farms in Pennsylvania and is certified rBST- and antibiotic-free. The ice cream is “ultra premium,” meaning that it comes in at more than 16 percent milk fact —at 17 percent, to be precise —making it richer and creamier but also naturally sweeter than other ice creams.
The ice cream and gluten- and dairy- free sorbets are hand-made at Moorenko’s Silver Spring factory, where flavors such as honey lavendar, fresh ginger and salted caramel with pralines are also prepared. Soorenko, who learned to make ice cream in New York and gelato from a master maker in Italy, opened the company in 2002, successfully weathering the 2007 recession.
She waxes poetic about the process to create the Cherry Stracciatella: “We heat up this fabulous bitter sweet chocolate,” she said, “and as the cold ice cream comes out of the machine, the melted chocolate is poured in, instantly solidifying and shattering into all these great slivers of chocolate goodness.”
The shop is a traditional ice cream parlor, Soorenko said, and will serve rotating flavors of ultra-premium ice cream and sorbets in cups and cones, as well as malteds, floats, milkshakes, craft sodas, sparkling and flavored waters. Pints will be available in the newly-repaired freezers. A milkshake runs $6.50, a single scoop starts at $2.99 and a triple scoop is $6.99 with additions such as waffle cones ($1.25), and toppings ($.35) available.
Coffee by Santa Lucia, a woman-owned roaster out of Rockville, MD, is coming in the future —as is a new paint job to deck the shop out in Moorenko colors: blue, orange and brown.
The shop is the second Moorenko’s parlor to open during the pandemic. A kiosk at Bethesda’s Montgomery Mall opened Aug. 29, joining two existing locations; one at 8012 Georgia Ave in Silver Spring, MD and the other at 8054 Main St. in Ellicot City.
While many might wonder at the timing, Soorenko said that opening a new retail shop was a good business move for Moorenko’s right now. Previous to the pandemic, 90 percent of sales were to about 200 area restaurants and hotels that served Moorenko’s on their menus; in the wake of food service and hospitality closures, those sales levels are only now beginning to return. The Eastern Market shop will help generate some needed income, she said.
“An ice cream shop is a pretty good business right now,” Soorenko said. “You don’t need to have tables, people don’t have to be inside for too long, and it makes everybody happier.”
Moorenko’s Ice Cream (720 C St. SE) is open Monday to Thursday 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. Learn more at moorenkos.com.