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Introducing New York City’s biggest vegan ice cream shop


vegan ice cream
Just a few of the vegan ice cream flavor options. (Photo: Lisa Elaine Held for Well+Good)

We know you’re too frozen to think about eating anything frozen right now, but hear us out. It won’t always be January.

DF Mavens just opened in the East Village, and it’s New York City’s biggest vegan ice cream shop yet, with all kinds of creative flavors, a juice bar, and other treats for the meat- and dairy-averse.

Situated on the corner of St. Mark’s and Second Avenue, the shop is owned by Malcolm Stogo, an ice cream business veteran who has a long list of frozen treat accomplishments. (He’s credited with inventing the Cookies ‘N Cream flavor, for example, in 1977.)

His first dairy-free outfit operates out of a small factory in Astoria and sells its 37 pints at natural food shops (and select Whole Foods) all over New York City. “The demand was there, so they decided they wanted to open a shop,” says the store’s general manager (and eight-year-vegan) Pamela Amatucci. “The idea is to eventually have a chain of them.”

Ice creams at the shop are made with a variety of “milk” bases—soy, coconut, and almond—which makes the flavors range in texture. Coconut milk-based options are creamier, for example, than almond milk-based ones, which are harder. There are also sugar-free options made with stevia, and all are gluten-free except for the Almond Cookie Monster. Prices start at $4.50, for one large scoop.

vegan ice cream
Inside the shop. (Photo: Lisa Elaine Held for Well+Good)

And the flavors, which change daily, are seriously interesting. Think New Orleans Salted Praline, Coconut Creamsicle, Sicilian Hazelnut Truffle, and Almond Cardamom Pistachio. In general, they’re rich and delicious and most people won’t miss the milk.

“What’s very unique about his [Stogo’s] ice cream is that it doesn’t taste non-dairy, which is awesome,” Amatucci says. (While I was taste-testing, an older man who said he lived across the street told the employee behind the counter, without cracking a smile, “I prefer my food to have a face, but this is really good.”)

In addition to ice cream, DF Mavens also has a made-to-order juice bar (which uses organic produce “when possible”), plus vegan pastries like muffins and cookies, a couple sandwiches and salads, and grab-and-go items like Chia Co. pods, cold-pressed juices, and ice cream sold in pints.

There’s also a full-service coffee (and tea) bar stocked by sister company Brazilia, which operates its own coffee plantation in Brazil and uses a very specific brewing and grinding process to “achieve a flavor that is not bitter at all,” Amatucci says.

vegan ice cream nyc
The juice bar. (Photo: Lisa Elaine Held for Well+Good)

And they’ll continue to add options to the menu as the store gains momentum. “We want it to be a one-stop vegan place where you can come and get everything,” she says, “and little by little, we’re gonna get there.”

They’re off to a good start. I stopped by on a recent evening when my Weather app said 18 degrees, and there was a steady stream of people venturing inside to taste and order scoops the entire time I was there. Maybe if your fingers are already frozen, it can’t hurt to taste a little creamy chocolate at the same time? —Lisa Elaine Held

DF Mavens, 37 St. Mark’s Place at Second Avenue, East Village, www.dfmavens.com