Thanks to oat milk, soy milk, and coconut milk, many people are now making delicious vegan ice cream in Chicago.
If it’s made the right way, using the best ingredients and a proper machine, you might be pleasantly surprised, just like NBC 5’s Food Guy Steve Dolinsky.
Lincolnwood’s Dairy Star – a legendary soft serve ice cream temple – went completely kosher in 1999 and more recently added a vegan option. Its ice creams and novelties have fed generations on hot summer days.
“We think there should be something here for everyone, and there are a lot of people who don’t eat dairy, so we have a delicious vegan soft serve,” said Chris Kersten, one from the owners of Dairy Star.
Using soy milk, the soft serve can be topped like any other cone or made into a shake.
“Special machine, completely separate; separate trimmings so there is no cross-contamination. We also have vegan whipped cream,” he said.
In Lincoln Park, near the DePaul University campus, Pretty Cool Ice Cream has just opened its second store, and like the original in Logan Square, it offers a number of colorfully flavored popsicles, as well as a assortment of vegan novelties on a stick, like Thai Tea or Blue Moon – served in some pretty cool wrappers.
In Wicker Park, the year-old Vaca’s Creamery is a 100% vegan creamery, making sundaes, cones and shakes that entice some customers to drive in from the suburbs.
“We use an oat milk base for our vanilla and chocolate, and then we have a seasonal flavor that we use a different base – we make our own tahini milk. And then we flavored it with orange blossom,” said co-owner Dylan Sutcliff.
The coffee shake here is divine, Dolinsky said, and good luck being able to tell the difference between this one and a regular dairy version. Sutcliff said they use higher quality oat milk with the other ingredients and even spend a bit more on the machine that makes it. He said creativity was part of it, of course — marshmallow-laden s’mores are just as fun as strawberry-draped versions with cookie dough — but it’s more than that.
“It also comes down to all the ingredients and the machinery,” he said.
Here’s where you can get vegan ice cream in the Chicago area:
3472 W. Devon Ave., Lincolnwood
Pretty cool ice cream
2353 N. California Ave.
709 W. Belden Ave.
1436 Blackhawk Street West
Upton Rest Room
2054 W. Grand Ave.
RealGood Stuff Co.
Seven locations in Chicago
Ice cream sundae stop
931 W. Belmont Ave.
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
Nine locations in Chicagoland
black dog gelato
Ukrainian Village, West Loop and Logan Square