Yeah, yeah, we know. Utahns are legendarily cuckoo for cocopuffs over ice cream. You name it, we crave it, whether it comes scooped up in cone with rainbow sprinkles or we’re noshing it straight out of the container as we lean over the sink (guilty, as charged). But what we’ve really been missing? Good ice cream. Like, supah-fresh, made with local ingredients, uniquely flavored, gimme-something-special-with-that-sugar-buzz kind of ice creams. The shining knight coming to our frozen-cravings rescue, spoon in hand? Peter J. Korth (affectionately known in these parts as “Pastry Chef Peter”), founder of PJK’s Creamery.
Those who attended our 4th Annual Brew + 'Q last September came face-to-face with this stone-cold operation as they scooped cereal-flavored ice cream (sigh) into the happy mouths of several hundred people. Peter, along with his partner in love, life and business, Mike Thomas (who creates the distinctive and delightful packaging and digital design with logo artist Geri Cordova), launched his own line of artisan ice creams last year, debuting at the SLC Downtown Farmer’s Market to immediate rave reviews. Think the best of old-fashioned, luscious, hard-pack ice cream with the bonus of modern, bold, and downright quirky flavors: strawberry with a touch of balsamic vinegar’s bright notes; Utah peach ice cream with a High West Whiskey toffee swirl and chipotle-toasted pecans; buttered popcorn (it works!); and what definitely ain’t your grandma’s generic gallon of goo, “Abuelita Chocolate,” spun with an Amour Spreads orange habanero marmalade swirl and a jalapeño pepita brittle crunch. ¡Ay, dios mio! Whether it’s jewel-toned sorbets--why hello there, raspberry-lychee champagne--bursting with pure fresh fruit flavor, or a play on the black-pepper and VIDA tequila-pickled cherry ice cream Korth made famous while he was pastry chef at Frida Bistro (featured on Cooking Channel’s Ice Cream Nation), you can count on PJK’s flavors to be as delicious as they are dynamic, without ever being gimmicky. The sincerity of his passion for the craft rings through in every bite and in each of the almost 50 flavors he’s developed.
“Salt Lake has such a huge expanding food scene,” says Korth, “we’ve had so much positive feedback about our one-of-a-kind flavors.” Enough so that Harmon's picked up the brand for distribution, with twelve PJK’s Creamery flavors available at three stores (City Creek, Brickyard, and Emigration) starting in March and growing to more locations soon. “We’ve had amazing support at the Farmer’s Market, and 95% of our customers also wanted a storefront and more flavors available on a regular basis,” which pushed PJK’s to follow up with the Harmon’s distribution and—hallelujah!—invest in setting up an old-fashioned ice cream parlor in the crazy-popular 900 South/400 East neighborhood with an anticipated opening in late April. The shop is currently undergoing a top-to-bottom remodel bringing the best parts of a traditional ice cream shop with design as modern as their flavor profiles. Bottom line? While PJK’s flavors are plenty playful, they take their craft pretty seriously. We can’t wait to get the scoop on what they’re up to next.