Restaurants / Openings

Dairy-Free Ice Cream Cult Favorite Opens Up its First Shop in Austin

Vegan YouTube Sensation Goes Mainstream

BY // 07.17.18

Just five years ago, those with dairy allergies, intolerances or those who chose not to consume dairy for whatever reason, were largely out of luck when it came to ice cream. At the time, the only option for the dairy-averse were soy ice creams that always had a sickly gray color, or icy sorbets, which, let’s face it do nothing in terms of fulfilling a craving for creamy ice cream.

One of the original trailblazers for dairy-free ice cream that focused on a creamy texture and creating a treat that can face off against dairy ice cream was NadaMoo. Now, after 15 years in business, this Austin-based treat pioneer is opening up its first brick-and-mortar shop in its home city.

“It’s a place to bring the brand to life, we’re very proud to be from Austin, we love this city,” NadaMoo CEO Daniel Nicholson says.

The new shop will also serve as an informal testing kitchen, where NadaMoo staff will be able to try out new flavors and products on lucky Austinites.

Amy Ramm — who brings a background as a natural food chef — originally incorporated NadaMoo in Austin in 2005. When Ramm’s sister had a doctor order her to cut dairy and gluten out of her diet, she was devastated. And Ramm, being the best sister, set off to create a worthy dairy-free ice cream, formulating the original recipe for NadaMoo.

Do a quick search of “NadaMoo” on YouTube and hordes of taste tests will come up, usually from the vocal vegan community. And in every video I watched (and I watched a lot in the name of research), the enthusiasm seemed real.

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“Social media has literally been the number one driver in the growth of our business,” Nicholson says. “We’ve never had a big marketing or advertising budget, even to this day, and I really think social media is just the new word of mouth.”

NadaMoo’s Humble Beginning

After creating a dairy-free recipe that her sister loved, Ramm asked her friend Matt Shook — the owner of the original Daily Juice and now the owner of Juiceland — if she could sample it at his store on Barton Springs one day. He agreed, and serendipitously the day she was sampling her homemade ice cream, a buyer from Whole Foods walked in.

The buyer told Ramm if she built a brand around her ice cream and got him a packaged version, they would carry it at Whole Food. Thus started Little Red Rooster Ice Cream Company, which would later have its name changed to NadaMoo in 2005 by a marketing agency.

CEO Nicholson first got involved in 2008 after Ramm stepped away from the business. “It was a tiny company really driven by the vegan community,” he says. “I would honestly say over the past three to five years, the market has finally met us where we’ve been”.

As for my prying on what makes NadaMoo one of the creamiest dairy-free ice creams on the market, Nicholson credits the high-quality coconut milk used.

“One of the initial thoughts the founder had while formulating the recipe was that coconut milk has a high saturated fat content, which is also a quality of dairy milk,” he says. “Many other non-dairy bases are typically lacking in that saturated fat, which has everything to do with the creaminess of the end product.”

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