Do you avoid dairy even when your fingers are going numb? Never fear because some of the tastiest hot chocolates are vegan! With the last freezing day of February dragging on, there’s no better time to shiver through McGolrick Park to Cafe Royal (195 Nassau Ave) where an array of delicious hot chocolate waits for you.

Maybe it was the excitement over finding a local cafe that sold not only vegan hot chocolate but Mexican vegan hot chocolate! Maybe we were just really craving hot chocolate.  Whatever it was, the vegan hot chocolate my boyfriend and I ordered on that first visit to Cafe Royal was more than enough to make us repeat customers. Ordering one to stay is a must, as you get more hot chocolate for your $4.00 and maybe even some cacao or chocolate shavings as a topper.

Although the straight vegan hot chocolate is a velvety and not too rich treat, the vegan Mexican hot chocolate gets a slight upper hand for having just the right blend of spiciness and creamy sweetness.

The even spicier and non-vegan Mayan hot chocolate is also usually on offer, and other non-vegan options, like peppermint hot chocolate, occasionally make appearances as well.  Still, Cafe Royal’s generally vegan-friendly menu is a definite draw on an avenue populated by Polish bakeries. Sometimes gentrification is OK – when it’s vegan that is!


Another great thing about Cafe Royal is that it’s a large space by Greenpoint standards, so even on a busy Sunday afternoon  there is usually always a spot where you can warm up, savor, and people watch to your heart’s content.

Join the Conversation


  1. Too bad gentrification comes with outrageous rent increases (you’re living near a polluted area with crap access to public transportation) and loss of a neighborhood’s character (which in this case happens to be dime-a-dozen Polish bakeries).

    Anyway, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t check out Beaner Bar’s offerings, which can be made with dairy substitute.

  2. “Sometimes gentrification is OK – when it’s vegan that is!”

    You should definitely get that emblazoned on a t-shirt. It’ll make it easier for everyone else in the neighborhood to spot the ignorant people.

  3. To the people who are having problems with the gentrification comment: I hope you’re aware that I was half-joking. Should I have put an “;)” or “:wink:” or something else cutesy after it, to spell it out? Of course gentrification is a pain, anybody knows that. I was merely making the best out of something that most everybody hates. Sorry, I sometimes forget that humor doesn’t always translate online. I thought Brooklynlites had more of a sense of humor about themselves. Oh well.

  4. Don’t lie Maria – you love gentrification. If you woke up, went outside and found that all of Nassau and Manhattan Aves Polish businesses were replaced with art galleries and pretentious hipster food and drink establishments – it wouldn’t bother you one bit. Love how you hipsters say you don’t like gentrification yet are the exact root cause of it. Enjoy your Brooklyn playcation!

  5. People talk about gentrification like it’s something new and evil, but it’s been around for ages and it isn’t always bad. One of the biggest contributors to gentrification in modern times is women entering the work force. The city has historically been the only place women can get higher salaries and in the past forty years, they have overwhelmed many neighborhoods that were forced to adjust to this new demographic. Women have caused much more gentrification than hipsters, but are people blaming them for this? I’m not saying that they should, but at least realize the realty of what causes changes in a city.

  6. When I moved to Greenpoint in 2002, I wanted to get a decent espresso and it was nearly impossible to find. I decided to go to a dozen places in the neighborhood to find that one good cup of coffee, but most establishments didn’t even know how to make espresso, even if they had an espresso machine. I was given either 5 ounces of watery black stuff or half an ounce of syrupy goo. It was frustrating. I had just moved from Bushwick and thought that a more European-based neighborhood would have decent coffee, but I was wrong. Or I picked the wrong dozen places to find it. Once a couple of non-Polish dare I say hipster stores opened up and started serving quality brew from quality beans, I was quite happy.

    My point is this, Maria: enjoy your hot vegan hipster chocolate and I will enjoy my properly made hipster coffee and don’t let the weight of an entire neighborhood’s transformation hang on your shoulders just because it took an outsider to make a quality beverage.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *