Coffee Chronicles: Van Leeuwen Artisanal Ice Cream...or Coffee?


[Photos: Liz Clayton]

Just in case you were worried: the ice cream community is finally taking coffee more seriously. And the latest entrant into the NY cafe game is, indeed, another ice cream parlor. Truck-famous Van Leeuwen Artisanal Ice Cream has opened their second retail storefront in Brooklyn, this time in the arguably coffee-underserved section of Cobble Hill.

The new location, at Smith and Bergen Streets, seems selected as much for the coffee needs of the neighborhood as much as the ice cream needs. It even, well, looks more like a coffee bar than an ice cream shop. And opening in a winter like this one, it's no wonder.

"This time of year our business is 90% coffee and pastry," says co-owner Laura O'Neill, whose trucks and Greenpoint store began using Intelligentsia Coffee when they got serious about coffee about a year and a half ago. The cafe serves a full range of espresso drinks alongside their ice creams, as well as single origin manually brewed coffees on Hario V60 drippers.


"When we decided to add coffee to the truck, we were looking for something we could achieve at as high quality as with our ice cream," says O'Neill. "It was never a matter of just chucking brewed coffee onto the truck."

VLAIC (that's catchy, ain't it?) Cobble HIll continues the movement that their Greenpoint store, as well as Manhattan's absolutely ginormous new Il Laboratorio Del Gelato location (serving Cafe Grumpy beans on state of the art machinery), have forged in mixing frosty pleasures with the brewed variety. (Now if only the artisanal doughnut trend would follow suit, we'd really be talking.)