The Tenderloin in SF has long been known as a seedy area, with a lot of hidden food gems if you know where to look. It is now starting to gentrify, starting with the hipster bars, upscale restaurants and small boutiques. One could always go to the TL and find great Vietnamese food, authentic Thai cuisine, dive bars, hookers, crack or heroin. What it was not known for is a place for great ice cream…until now.
Shakedown is the coolest ice cream shop in the least likely location. Right in the thick of the TL, you might drive or walk right past it without giving it a second look, and that would be a mistake. The graffiti-style artwork covering the façade might have you mistake the place for another abandoned storefront or the latest skate shop, but inside you will find some fine artisanal ice creams made by some of the most down to earth people selling high end ice cream anywhere. These guys may look like they are running a craft brewery or tattoo parlor, but they are very passionate about their craft.
Ask any of them about their flavors, and you’ll see how much they care as they describe how their S’Mores ice cream is made with housemade marshmallows, graham crackers made from scratch, and chocolate ganache which is whipped up on site.
Order a scoop or two in a waffle cone and you’ll see how carefully they make the cone to order in front of you, delicately removing the hot waffle from the iron, rolling it by hand , then thoughtfully dropping a marshmallow (homemade no doubt) into the bottom of the cone to keep your ice cream from leaking out.
The flavors are some of the most interesting in the City. Their flavors change often, but if you can, try the Pennsyltucky (pieces of walnut chocolate chip pie swirled into bourbon ice cream), Jacker Crack (popcorn infused ice cream with swirls of dulce de leche & crushed peanut brittle), the aforementioned S’mores, or two of my favorites: the Acapulco Gold (pineapple ice cream with Grand Marnier) and the Pineapple Orange Guava sorbet ( made with Pineapple, Cara Cara oranges, SoCal guavas and coconut milk). They do great shakes and imaginative sundaes as well.
Not only do the décor and crew make this place perfect for the neighborhood, it’s also open late: until 11:00PM Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, Midnight on Fridays, 1:00AM Saturdays, and closed on Tuesday. The best part about this place is it is still relatively under the radar, so no Bi-Rite like lines! Come check it out next time you are in the area, we need to keep these guys around for a while.
Shakedown SF 835 Geary Street SF, CA 94109 (415)374-7523