Ice Cream Maker Interview

I Scream, You Scream, Even Vegans Scream for Ice Cream

Like No Udder makes its permanent home on the East Side

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A summer staple on the Providence food truck circuit, Like No Udder has been delighting those with dairy free dietary requirements for seven seasons. Well known for their classic style soft serve, you can now find even more vegan friendly treats at their new home in Fox Point. Though the new spot isn’t on wheels, with its walls adorned with a rainbow themed, unicorn mural painted by local artist Alec Thibodeau and tables that glisten with pearlescent glitter, there’s no doubt you’re at a Like No Udder establishment.

While the familiar purple truck will still be rolling through the streets of Providence and pulling up at your favorite summer events, you can now be sure of getting your dairy free fix as the store opens for its first season to vegan and non-vegan excitement alike.

As a fan of the truck, I’m so excited to be in the new store. Was having a store front always part of the plan for Like No Udder?

No, a brick and mortar establishment was not in the plan at all. We’re now entering season seven for the truck, which was always the original focus of the business. I went through a few ideas before thinking of opening the shop. I looked at franchising and wholesale but ultimately, with encouragement from my husband and my family, the idea of the shop became the goal.

Finding a location here in Providence is all about luck because things move so fast. I looked everyday online, and I had friends looking out for me. But it was by chance that my husband saw this posting, and everything just fell into place. If we had found it two days later it would have been snapped up – the space was an ice cream shop before us so it was meant to be.

Even though it wasn’t part of the original plan, I realize now how much I would have missed being face to face with customers if I’d gone down a wholesale or franchise route. This has become more of a dream, and more of what I wanted than I ever could have imagined.

Vegan ice cream, and especially good vegan ice cream like yours, can be pretty hard to come by. What is it about making vegan ice cream specifically that’s so important to you?

I’ve been a vegetarian for 30 years, and vegan for 23. It’s the life I know, it’s how I breathe. I had a vegan baking business ten years ago, and when I closed the business I knew deep down I’d come back to vegan food making in some way.

I’m originally from New York and so soft serve holds really fond memories for me; I was really close with my dad, who passed away a little over a year ago, and I have these really strong memories of going to Carvel and having soft serve with him. That was the original inspiration for the business, for having the truck.
I feel a deep connection to my customers because I’m providing a product that is something that they couldn’t find before because they have food allergies, or choose to have dietary restrictions.

I’m touched every time a family comes in. I think of those memories that I have with my dad and know I’m helping to give those memories to families who can’t have dairy. You can develop a relationship with the owner of any business but it’s that extra connection that makes me love what I do so much.

So you’re still serving soft serve from the new store, phew! I spy some other flavors on the board though, what are they?
We now have a range of hard, scooped ice creams as well as our well-loved soft serve.
With the soft serve I keep the flavors simple: vanilla, chocolate or a twist of the two, they are also the base for the shakes. There’s the possibility in the future of expanding the soft serve flavors, but for now I’m keeping it classic, it’s what people have come to know us for.

We make the hard ice cream here on site, and can make six gallons at a time – so we’re well stocked! The ice cream bases are all dairy free; we start with cashew milk, coconut milk or peanut butter, then add in our flavors.

We’ve been open a couple of months now, so we’re figuring out which flavors are going to be our staples, and which we’ll rotate. The general plan is to have eight regulars and four rotating. Right now I would say the Thai Ice Tea, which has a coconut base, is a definitely keeper. I brew the Thai Ice Tea in the coconut milk so it has a really creamy, infused flavor. Cookies and Cream, Mint Chip and Almond Joyful are also absolute definites.

I know it must be so hard to choose with all the options, but do you have a favorite flavor?
I’d have to say the Mint Chip, which really we should call a Chocolate Mint Stracciatella, but that wouldn’t fit on the sign. We use pure mint extract to flavor the base, then melt chocolate chips and pour them into the churning ice cream just before it’s completely set to create ribbons of wafer thin chocolate.

Like No Udder
170 Ives Street, Providence
419-8869