Brooklyn-based artisanal ice cream chain Van Leeuwen has announced that it is planning to open five new locations throughout New York City this summer. As reported by Eater NY, the expansion includes shops in Nolita, the Upper West Side, Soho, and the Upper Easter Side in Manhattan and Prospect Heights in Brooklyn.
While the 10-year-old ice cream chain is not vegan, each of its scoop shops offers a wide array of signature Van Leeuwen vegan ice cream flavors, including rotating seasonal vegan flavors that typically change on a week-to-week basis. In addition to that, the shop also offers all the fixings needed to create a vegan sundae, like vegan whipped cream and vegan chocolate sauce, plus vegan cookies and brownies. All vegan ice creams are made using Van Leeuwen’s signature dairy-free base of cashew, coconut, and cocoa butter. Pints of vegan flavors can be found at over 350 retailers.
“We’ve spent the last 10 years sort of constantly refining the product, making it better,” said Van Leeuwen’s co-founder Ben Van Leeuwen. Beyond this summer’s openings, he revealed that as many as 40 new outposts may open in NYC in the next two years, which would more than double the options for vegan ice cream in NYC. Los Angeles, which is currently home to two Van Leeuwen ice cream trucks and two scoop shops, may also see additional openings. The company is also considering international expansion, depending on demand. “We’re excited by the plan, but always kind of ready to pivot if necessary,” Ben said.
Recently, the company launched soft serve ice cream at its flagship scoop shop Williamsburg, Brooklyn. In an Instagram post announcing the soft serve flavors, several followers asked whether or not the company would release vegan soft serve. To which it responded: “We hear ya. Our R&D [recipe and development] team is on the case.”
Van Leeuwen’s solid vegan ice cream lineup serves as an example of the growing demand for dairy-free alternatives. With the American vegan ice cream market set to reach $1 billion by 2027, Van Leeuwen certainly isn’t alone in keeping its vegan and dairy-free customers happy. Vegan flavors are now available at select scoop shops belonging to iconic ice cream brands Ben & Jerry’s and Haagen-Dazs. Last year, Ohio-based artisanal ice cream brand Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream launched its first-ever vegan flavor. Low-calorie ice cream brand Halo Top, which now carries a number of vegan flavors, began its expansion into the scoop shop business last year. Its most recent opening includes vegan soft serve.
Image Credit: Van Leeuwen