With an unfortunate number of restaurants permanently closing in and around Denver, some sporadic openings have blossomed in their wake. Rather than the introduction of brick and mortar shops, the current climate only allows for in-home or small kitchen operations for local culinary ventures like veteran pastry chef, Caitlin Howington’s Pint’s Peak.
Though Howington had been working in the hospitality field for years, her recent lay off gave way to the ice creamery idea always bubbling in the back of her mind. Pint’s Peak was in large part created as a way to survive but her eight years of fine dining experience had a helping hand in crafting gourmet ice cream flavors.
Originally from the east coast, Howington used her culinary degree to earn her stripes in various kitchens and catering companies. It was in August 2019 that she chose to sell everything and move to Colorado only roughly eight months before COVID-19 related closures. Having only visited the Rocky Mountains once before permanently relocating, Howington was lured in by Colorado’s welcoming hospitality. When deciding a name for her creamery shop, she took real inspiration from Pike’s Peak and dubbed her elevated ice cream, Pint’s Peak.
For the first couple of weeks, Howington operated out of her home. It quickly became apparent that she needed more space to produce her custard base ice cream. She now works out of a commercial kitchen, churning out small batches of about 50 to 60 pints per flavor.
As a one-woman operation, the monthly ice cream flavors are announced on both Instagram and the Pint’s Peak website. Since she is the only chef in the kitchen, each pint is first come first serve with a limited supply. Not only is Howington constructing the flavors and mixing the base herself, she also acts as the social media manager and delivery service for her products. The epitome of a one-woman show. In this case, her show is a sweet frozen dairy shop with fresh and local ingredients.
Currently, the shop’s gourmet flavors include a lemon meringue pie, mint chip cookie, Hibiscus margarita sorbet and espresso vanilla bean. Each month the menu gains brand new flavors to completely take their place.
“Sometimes I come up with the name of the ice cream first then make the recipes. I like to push the boundary but also make flavors that people crave,” Howington said.
With an overwhelming response to support local businesses, Howington has felt so humble and grateful during such a stressful time.
“I’ve never lost a job before. So, on one hand, I thought it was a terrible time to start a business, but I still wanted to take advantage with my time off,” Howington said.
While the future of the restaurant industry is still up in the air, Howington is hoping to expand into retail and wholesale for Pint’s Peak. For now, she’s focusing on employing other pastry techniques into creating out-of-the-box ice cream flavors.
As a new local shop, Pint’s Peak is also offering a way to give back through the Restaurant Reboot Relief Program funded by the Lee Initiative. This initiative is committed to helping reset supply chains for farmers and restaurant operators who are committed to sustainable food. The Pint’s Peak menu allows for monetary donations of $25, $50 or $100 directly to the relief program.
Even though there have been some bleak moments in the local restaurant industry, blooming ventures like Pint’s Peak underscore the importance of perseverance.
For more info on Pint’s Peak, go here.