ice cream beat

NYC ice cream shop scoops out vegan sweets in Rice Village

NYC ice cream shop scoops out vegan sweets in Rice Village

Van Leeuwen ice cream scoop
Van Leeuwen offers more than 30 flavors at its scoop shops. Courtesy of Van Leeuwen

One of New York City's most-acclaimed scoop shops has revealed its first Houston location. Van Leeuwen Ice Cream will open in Rice Village in spring 2021, the development announced.  

Opened as a food truck in 2008, Van Leeuwen has expanded to 22 shops in New York and Los Angeles. The company is best known for its vegan flavors made with either cashew milk or oat milk. Overall, the shops offer 32 flavors — a mix of dairy and vegan — along with four special flavors every month. They are made, in the company's parlance, "without junk," from milk, cream, eggs, and cane sugar (or their vegan equivalents).

Two of the most popular selections are Chocolate Fudge Brownie and the vegan Cookie Crumble Strawberry Jam. Future customers can preview the shop's selections by buying the company's pints at Central Market. 

“We couldn’t be happier to be expanding to the Houston area. With its established ties, walkability, and bustling community, we knew Rice Village was perfect for our first venture into the Lone Star state,” CEO and co-founder Ben Van Leeuwen said in a statement. “For over 12 years we’ve been committed to bringing our customers good ice cream that makes you feel good, and we can’t wait to serve Rice Village, come spring.”

Van Leeuwen will occupy approximately 900-square-feet at 2565 Amherst St (formerly Steel City Pops). Expect at least two more Houston locations in Uptown Park and Montrose in the months to come, according to reporting by Eater Houston. 

Bringing in a new ice cream shop is only the latest addition at Rice Village. Earlier this month, the development announced that furniture retailer West Elm had claimed the former Urban Outfitters space on University Boulevard.

“Rice Village is thrilled to welcome Van Leeuwen to its growing list of diverse eateries and shops,” Morgan Lera, senior investment associate of Rice Management Company, added. “The Village has been such an integral part of the city for generations. I’m confident that Van Leeuwen will only add to the Rice Village experience to create many sweet memories for Houstonians.”

Burdette Huffman of The Blue Ox Group represented Rice Village. Jason Kastner of Dochtner & Alexander Retail Advisors and Zac Hoffer with The Retail Connection represented Van Leeuwen.