Sweet Ritual vegan dessert shop reopens, plus 11 other frozen treats in Austin
It's been scary out there for folks who don't eat dairy. In January, Austin vegan frozen dessert store Sweet Ritual announced that they would indefinitely close.
Owner Amelia Raley at the time blamed the pressures of the coronavirus pandemic for the hiatus. But now, Raley is easing back into the scoop game.
Last week via Instagram, Raley announced a soft reopening for Sweet Ritual's storefront at 4631 Airport Blvd., No. 125.
"It's been about six weeks since we shut our doors to our scoop shop and went on a hiatus due to the pandemic and the resulting supply chain issues, price increases, and low sales" due to the the delta and omicron variants, Raley wrote.
She continued: "As of this week, we are in a soft-opening transitionary period," and the store will be open from 3 to 9 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday. Hours will expand soon, she wrote.
According to the Instagram post, shakes will not be available yet, but customers can get scoops, pints, cakes and dairy-free ice cream sandwiches. Sweet Ritual will only accept cards for payment right now.
"I just want to close here and give a big thank you to everyone who has left a kind comment, sent a text, or reached out to buy a pint from our kitchen while we've been closed," Raley wrote. "You all have made me cry the biggest tears of joy with your support and your sweet stories about your adventures in our scoop shop. Ice cream truly is the best job in the world."
In honor of Sweet Ritual's reopening and the official start of spring, here are more of Austin's favorite frozen dessert spots to check out.
Amy’s Ice Creams
Currently slingin’ cream at 13 Austin locations — from the Arboretum to Westgate, the airport to Westlake — and at a couple spin-offs in Houston and San Antonio, Amy Simmons’ dairy empire was founded in 1984. If you’ve never been — how? — the basics are as such: ever-so-slightly-floral Mexican vanilla is the most popular flavor; you can choose from crush’ns like Reese’s cups and Grape Nuts (rules of thumb include no crush’ns on a tiny size, and you’ll probably just want those gummy bears on top unless you like cold, colorful rocks); and expect a gravity-defying trick.
(Various locations; amysicecreams.com)
By now an Austin tradition, this frozen-banana-on-a-stick business is a favorite come festival season. A best bet: dipped in peanut butter and rolled in Oreo crumbs.
(1311 South First St., 2420 Guadalupe St. at Space 24 Twenty behind Urban Outfitters; bananarchy.net)
Casey’s New Orleans Snowballs
Since 1996, this place has been bringing an authentic Louisiana flavor to the summer. According to the owners on their website, “a snowball can be the difference between a person having a good day and a great day, or a person having a bad day and a good day." Casey’s uses cane sugar, and they tout their cream and chocolate syrups.
(808 E. 51st St.; caseys-snowballs.com)
Dipdipdip Ice Cream
From the folks who brought you the hottest bowl of shoyu in all the land, this is the Ramen Tatsu-ya team's sweet venture. As you might expect, the flavors (though limited) are a trip, like black pepper-yuzu mascarpone.
(7301 Burnet Road, Ste. 101; dipdipdip-icecream.com)
South First’s home for gelato for a hot minute, now with a Plaza Saltillo location. Family-owned by three people with Italian roots — including Francesca Silvestrini, who trained in the art of the gelateria in that country — Dolce Neve serves up staples like stracciatella, rotating flavors like goat cheese with pecan, and treats like granitas, gelato sandwiches and affogatos.
(1713 South First St. and 1109 E. Fifth St.; dolcenevegelato.com)
Gati Ice Cream
Coconut-based chills from the chef-owner of Thai Fresh, with rotating flavors including Thai tea and black sticky rice horchata. They also have a gluten-free bakery.
(1512 Holly St.; gatiicecream.com)
Instagram-worthy, Thai-style rolled ice cream, with both dairy and coconut-based options. Chop-ins like Oreos and Teddy Grahams keep things fun.
(1800 Barton Springs Road; hollamode.com)
Lick Honest Ice Creams
An Austin original with natural ingredients and tantalizing flavors like dark chocolate, olive oil and sea salt.
(1100 S. Lamar Blvd; 6555 Burnet Road; 1905 Aldrich St.; ilikelick.com/austin)
Recently featured on "Queer Eye": An Asian-inspired sweet shop that supplements their bubble tea menu with a roster of soft serve treats, like milk tea float, matcha affogato and stuffed taiyaki. Soft serve flavors rotate.
4607 Bolm Road; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; squeeclub.com.
One of this city’s favorite places for cones, malts and shakes since 1946.
(603 Barton Springs Road; sandysaustin.com)
An Austin snowcone institution since 1993, and my favorite for about that long. My order: horchata with cream on top.
(412 Sterzing St.; snobeachatx.com)