Spring may be off to a patchy start, but ice cream season is here regardless and local producers Van Leeuwen are on a roll right now. February saw the opening of a new store in the West Village, closely followed by the relocation of their Greenpoint outlet to a newer, bigger premises on Manhattan Avenue. Now, plans are underway for a flagship store on Wythe Avenue in Williamsburg, due to open mid-May.
The all-natural Greenpoint ice cream company was started in 2008 by Laura O’Neill and Ben and Pete Van Leeuwen, who set out to make ice cream using the finest possible ingredients. After initially selling their wares locally from two buttermilk-yellow ice cream trucks, rapid success soon saw them opening their own brick-and-mortar stores around NYC, and even branching out to LA, where they currently operate two trucks and have new stores in the pipeline. Their upcoming Williamsburg flagship is a marker of just how rapidly their ice cream empire has grown.
“The new store’s going to be housed in a really big space on Wythe at North 5th”, Laura tells us (recently back from SxSW where she performed with her band Laura and Greg). “It’s 1200 sq ft, double the size of our East Village store which is currently our largest. There’s going to be room for 50 seats, spread between booths, counter stools and window seats.”
“Having the extra space at the flagship location is really exciting as it means we can stock a whole lot more ice cream flavors’, Laura says. “We also want to start making our own waffle cones in store, which will be awesome.”
Mmm, waffle-scented summer strolls down Wythe sound pretty good to me!
The Van Leeuwen team currently produce all their ice cream out of the kitchen behind Selamat Pagi, their Balinese restaurant on Driggs Avenue, but they are soon moving to a much bigger production space elsewhere in Greenpoint.
“We’re looking forward to the move as it means we’ll be able to produce our ice cream on a much larger scale and also hope to start running classes from there once we’re settled in”, says Laura.
The ice cream bible includes all the Van Leeuwen dairy and vegan classics as well as recipes for divine sounding flavors such as rhubarb crumble, coconut avocado, and salted peanut butter with chocolate covered pretzels. It also tells the lovely back story for the Van Leeuwen team, their ethos, and the company’s Greenpoint roots.
If you can’t contain your excitement for the cook book then at least you can soon get along to the new flagship store to work out which ice cream flavor you’ll try your hand at making first. Watch this space for the official grand opening date…