Even before Laura and Greg took Manhattan (Ave), this indie pop duo was no stranger to the neighborhood. And it’s not just because singer Laura O’Neill is one of the people who brought us delicious artisanal ice cream and the flavors of Bali. I first heard of them when they were to play a free show at LOREN Denim, a Greenpoint gem that normally serves as a denim repair and design shop. I listened to their first record release and was pleasantly surprised by its sweet melodic tunes. Their music video for “Muscle Memory” (made by Greg) was mesmerizing. They continued to play at numerous small local businesses in the neighborhood including Academy Record Annex and we invited them to perform live at our Greenpointers Markets last year, starting with the Summer. Back then, I wrote “I have a feeling the days when we can go to a local record store to see them perform live for free are numbered.” So I’m not entirely surprised that they are nominated by Deli Magazine as one of the Best Emerging Bands of 2015.
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About eight years ago, Greenpointers began seeing the butter-yellow Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream trucks popping up on our streets, often with one of the owners, Laura O’Neill and brothers Pete & Ben Van Leeuwen, inside. It didn’t take long—they were approached by a Whole Foods rep literally on their first day of business back in June 2008—for the Greenpoint locals to become the next big thing in ice cream. But of course, every “next big thing” in food needs a brick-and-mortar shop, and with their hearts already in the neighborhood, the team opened up their very first ice cream shop on Manhattan & Bedford in early spring 2010.
Van Leeuwen’s flagship store in Williamsburg is having its official grand opening tomorrow, but tonight, for three glorious hours from 7pm-10pm, they will be handing out free ice cream scoops from the new store as a pre-opening treat. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
Pups are asked to attend in costume and humans are asked to bring non-perishables for humans AND pets.
The top 3 Best Costumes will be chosen, and the judges are: Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, Laura O’Neill (Van Leeuwen/Selamat Pagi) and ME! (what an honor!)
Adopt NY will be there collecting all the pet related donations to distribute between the rescues that suffered severe damages.
You may have noticed the Van Leeuwen Ice Cream trucks parked outside the former Kormoran Polish Restaurant (152 Driggs Ave) on Driggs Ave near McGolrick Park. You may have also noticed all the construction work going on inside the space. We chatted with Laura O’Neill, Van Leeuwen owner, to find out what they are cooking up in there.
Greenpointers: What is going on in the new space?
Laura: The space is a wood shop at the moment as we finish building all our furniture, but we hope to get open very, very soon. For now I can tell you it’s a Balinese restaurant called Selamat Pagi and the menu is tasting awesome! BTW Selamat Pagi means “good morning” in Balinese.
Greenpointers: Why a Balinese Restaurant?
Laura: Ben and I went to Bali a few times (its very close to Australia where I’m from) and became obsessed with the place and the food in particular. We’ve always wished we could get Balinese food in nyc and after blowing everyones minds and palates with a Balinese Feast at the Van Leeuwen staff party last year, we started to think seriously about opening a Balinese Restaurant here. The restaurant is the storefront of VL HQ, we’ve been sitting on this space for over a year and decided a few months ago to just go for it!
Greenpointers: Can you tell us about the menu?
Laura: We are still fine tuning the menu but you can expect to see a lot of lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaf and chilies. Dishes will include beef rendang, bali style prawns, bali bluefish salad, nasi goreng and other delights made using the best meats, fish and produce available in the area.
Greenpointers: Tell us about the chef?
Laura: Sophia Loch is our head chef and we have been working closely with her on creating our dream menu.
Greenpointers: What the vibe be like?
Laura: We will be open breakfast lunch and dinner and have around 25 seats. Ben has been building all the tables and benches from silver maple. We want the space to be super simple, light and inviting. We will have table service.
Greenpointers: Will you have a liquor license?
Greenpointers: Will there still be ice cream?
Laura: Yes, we will have coffee (toby’s estate), ice cream and pastries as well as the full Balinese menu. We will be serving some Balinese influenced ice cream flavors such as Sticky Black Rice, Lemongrass, Smoked Vanilla and Coconut Avocado.
Greenpointers: Is there an opening date set?
Laura: Shooting for next week, keep you posted!
What do you think about a Balinese Restaurant coming to Greenpoint?