As much as I love artisan d’Ambrosio gelato, handcrafted on historic Ballard Avenue in exquisite Italian flavors like bacio di dama and gianduja, I gotta say—I also love me some Twin Pine Burger’s soft serve ice cream cones.
If you grew up in the USA, you know the kind I’m talking about: soft vanilla and/or chocolate ice cream served with a swirly flourish out of a machine into those orangish-colored cones that taste like Styrofoam. Totally American. And if they’re done right, like Twin Pines does, totally dee-lish.
A few miles east of Cle Elum, Washington, just off I-90 on Highway 97 enroute to Blewett Pass, Twin Pines burger stand is an iconic throwback. No franchise-chain here, just an independent, classic American burger joint, complete with cherry red picnic tables on the back lawn next to a trailer park. So iconic that it has been memorialized in an Edward Hopper-esque oil painting that hangs at the entrance to the Northgate Nordstrom as part of their Northwest art collection.
For years, Twin Pines has been a favorite stop on my way home from hikes in the Teanaway or visiting friends in Chelan or Wenatchee. On weekend afternoons in the summer Twin Pines is always packed. Although I’ve never had their burgers or fries, which Yelpers seem to love, the ice cream cones and shakes are the best. Frosty and creamy, with fragrant vanilla and soft chocolatey flavor. The real deal, like Dairy Queen (which I shamelessly indulge in now and then) used to be.
I stopped by Twin Pines a few weeks ago on a hot Sunday afternoon and got a vanilla-chocolate swirl cone (cash only of course). As I sat in the shade of pine trees behind the burger shack, carefully licking the creamy cold perfection, I felt summer deep in my bones. Eating that cone stirred memories stretching back into my childhood. My dad (chocolate) and step-mom (vanilla) could have been sitting across the picnic table from me, and I could have been 11 again.
Simple flavors, simple pleasures, enjoying an ice cream cone with family and friends—priceless.
When You Go
I read on a Yelp review that Twin Pines is only open during the summer from Memorial Day to Labor Day weekend. I can’t confirm that online, but a few years ago I did worry that they were out of business when I stopped by in the autumn and the place was closed.