There is now a digital replica of Austin, TX-based vegan ice cream shop Sweet Ritual in Nintendo Switch game Animal Crossing: New Horizons. When Sweet Ritual shuttered for two weeks in March amid the COVID-19 pandemic, co-owner Amelia Raley and her boyfriend entertained themselves by constructing a virtual version of the vegan shop on an island they called St. Andrews.
“It was a great way to deal with the stress of closing up our shop and our factory,” Sweet Ritual co-owner Amelia Raley told Eater. “We had to laugh: ‘What if we build out the actual shop?’” Raley told Eater. “The game has the exact soft-serve lamps that we have in our store.” The duo was able to capture the essence of Sweet Ritual’s shop, down to the logo and colorful accoutrements such as tables, servers’ aprons, and candy machines. Raley put a call out to Instagram when she came up short on lamp colors. “Within the hour, I had several visitors and all eight lamp colors.” Sweet Ritual shares its Animal Crossing code on Instagram when Raley wants to invite fans to St. Andrews so they can enjoy a virtual version of Sweet Ritual until the shop is fully operational again.
This month, the shop partially reopened and is currently serving its ice cream, in scoops, pints, sandwiches, and shakes for curbside pickup from 2pm to 9 pm. Sweet Ritual also offers kits such as Instant Birthday (two pints of ice cream, four cake cones, a candle, and sprinkles); Date Night (one ice cream pint, two toppings, a 5-ounce cheesecake, and a love note mad lib); and Brownie Sundae (one ice cream pint, two brownies, two toppings, and a tote bag).