A Vegan Ice Cream Pizza Parlor Is Opening in Austin


Big Nonna’s—a vegan ice cream parlor and pizza shop—is scheduled to open in Austin, TX in October. The shop is a collaborative effort between two local businesses: mainstay vegan ice cream shop Sweet Ritual and pizza trailer Lil’ Nonna’s Pizzeria . The idea of combining vegan pizzas and ice cream in one shop arose several years ago when Sweet Ritual co-founder Amelia Raley and Lil’ Nonna’s owner Robbie Lordi became friends at ATX Veg*n Food Business Owners, a meetup for local business owners. The COVID-19 pandemic affected the two businesses differently, with Sweet Ritual having to close for a portion of the lockdown with reduced sales and Lil’ Nonna’s experiencing a boost in business necessitating an expansion into a brick-and-mortar restaurant. “The collaboration between Sweet Ritual and Li’l Nonna’s creates a space where people can gather to celebrate life’s little rituals—like date nights and birthdays,” Raley told VegNews. “We’re seeing a demand for comfort foods that go hand in hand—like pizza and shakes. We’re also seeing a demand for entire cuisines to be veganized, which is why we’re framing traditional Italian pizzas, pasta, and gelato from the perspective of from-scratch vegan cooking.” Big Nonna’s menu—which include appetizers, salads, and pizzas—will feature house-made beet-based pepperoni, house-aged vegan cheeses made from pumpkin seeds, and scratch-made ranch. The restaurant will also offer Sweet Ritual’s ice cream made from a variety of bases such as coconut, soy, and nut butters such as almond, peanut, and sunflower seeds. Big Nonna’s will also offer a separate gluten-free and soy-free menu.  Lil’ Nonna’s first opened in 2017 as a vegetarian pizza trailer but Lordi transitioned the menu to be fully vegan last year. “Vegetarianism is obsolete,” Lordi told VegNews. “There is no such thing as ethical vegetarianism, and I say this as someone who was vegetarian for over 20 years before finally going fully vegan a couple years ago. People do not go vegetarian anymore. People go vegan.” The 1,300-square-foot shop will be open for curbside pickup initially (with delivery to North Austin) with plans to expand to dine-in services when COVID-19 guidelines allow. Lil’ Nonna’s will also continue to operate as a pizza trailer while Sweet Ritual will continue doing business at its brightly decorated Austin shop.
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