Metro, Food, Newton

Van Leeuwen Ice Cream Opens Chestnut Hill Location with Preview Event

Van Leeuwen Ice Cream hosted a special preview event last Thursday for the opening of its new store in Chestnut Hill, inviting local businesses and residents to enjoy a free sampling of its ice cream before their grand opening the following day, April 12. 

 “Of course, Boston is an ice cream city, people love ice cream here,” said Ben Van Leeuwen, CEO and co-founder of Van Leeuwen Ice Cream.

The Newton location will be the brand’s first Boston-area location, explained Cady Roberts, vice president of marketing for Van Leeuwen Ice Cream.  

“Yeah, we’re just getting our start in Boston, because it’s the first location and we have more and more to come,” Cady said. 

At the preview, customers enjoyed a lineup of interesting flavors and specialties. With top-rated vegan flavors, a sundae collaboration with local bakery Flour, and a limited-time special for the Boston Marathon, the location boasts a variety of options. 

Roberts said the brand works to have the best quality ingredients to produce good ice cream for customers to enjoy. 

“We’re just a very unapologetic brand,” Roberts said. “So we just say like … if you’re going to indulge, indulge in the best,” 

The brand offered flavors like Honeycomb Caramel, Earl Grey Tea, Brown Sugar Cookie Dough Chunk, and Vegan Planet Earth, at the preview event. 

Madison Carelli, a member of the Van Leeuwen marketing team, explained some of the team’s excitement surrounding the new location in Newton.

“So we started in New York City in 2008, and it’s gonna be our 16th year of business, so we’re super excited,” Carelli said. “We’re almost at 60 stores across the United States everywhere from L.A. to Boston.” 

Van Leeuwen said the company began out of a van that he and his co-founders retrofitted into an ice cream truck. 

“So we bought our first truck for $2,500, and it was a 1988 beat-up old yellow Nissan,” Van Leeuwen said. “We then, of course, had to figure out how to make ice cream, and we wanted to make really, really good ice cream.” 

The brand focuses on using cream and egg yolks in its product to give it a rich creaminess and texture, but it also focuses on leaving out unnecessary additions, according to Van Leeuwen. 

“We really focus on keeping out, not only stuff that’s gonna make the product not as tasty out, but we want to keep out stuff that’s bad for the planet,” Van Leeuwen said. 

The brand offers a variety of vegan options, and omits the use of palm oil and caramel in their recipes in an effort to minimize adverse effects on the planet, according to Van Leeuwen. 

Van Leeuwen said he’s excited for the brand to move into the Newton area, as it’s just a short ride away from their headquarters and manufacturing center in New York.

“It’s a lovely area, and that’s the truth,” Van Leeuwen said. “That sounds so simple at all, but we like lovely areas, and let’s define lovely as pleasant, foot-trafficked, good co-tenancy.”

Much of the brand is built around collaboration with local businesses, Van Leeuwen said. 

“The other important part of the business it’s like finding really good locations to open stores, and finding really nice people to work with and nice people to help with in-store culture,” Van Leeuwen said.

Abby Walsh, an attendee of the event, commended the brand’s collaboration with local businesses as beneficial to the community. 

“Like I said, they’re reaching out to some of their partners, I guess, and they are extending life to them,” Walsh said. 

Walsh expressed her appreciation for the brand and its efforts to produce quality products. 

“It’s a great place, and I know the work that goes into developing these flavors and your connection with the local bakeries,” Walsh said. “But I love the measure behind it: quality ice cream.”

April 14, 2024