Photo Credit: Courtesy of Whipped Urban Dessert Lab Co-Founders
Meet The Black Women Behind The World's First Oat Milk Soft Serve Ice Cream Shop
Whipped Urban Dessert Lab in New York City has the distinction of being the world’s first oat-milk soft serve shop. The founders behind this Manhattan gem are two Black women, of course.
It was created by two sisters, Courtney Balgrove and Zan B.R, who wanted to see more alternative ice cream options in the market.
“Customers come in, and they cannot tell it’s plant-based, is a big compliment for us,” said the co-founders to Travel Noire. “We often get individuals who come in with somebody who might be plant-based, and the person who is plant-based will try to encourage it first, and then they taste it. A lot of people tell us they had no idea it was plant-based.”
Their oat milk soft serve started in a food hall but grew in popularity in less than a year that the two opened a brick and mortar in February 2020 – as the COVID-19 pandemic began.
“It’s one thing to start a small business, there’s always a risk, and you have to be flexible, but it’s another thing to start a small business right before the pandemic hit. It’s something even large businesses didn’t even know how to handle.”
The business had to shut down briefly in March to figure out their next move but even with the challenges, giving up wasn’t an option.
“Being Black women in America, there are a certain number of hurdles and obstacles that you’re going to have to get through and get over to succeed just because of how the United States has historically treated people of color and Black people,” said the founders. “It’s tenacity and grit developed during a lifetime of not necessarily being accepted or having access to the resources other groups would have learned how to make it work even though you don’t have that access.”
There are a ton of options on the menu, including salted pecan, mint chocolate chip, strawberry shortcake, and more. The founders’ personal favorities (even though they love them all) are coffee waffle crunch and cinnamon apple crisp.
If you can’t make it New York City for a scoop, you can get it delivered.
As for what’s next for these beautiful sisters, they plan to expand to other cities nationwide.
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