This spring, Vaca’s Creamery will become Chicago’s first fully vegan ice cream shop when it opens in the city’s East Wicker Park neighborhood. Founded by Mariana Marinho and Dylan Sutcliff, Vaca’s Creamery will offer oat-based soft serve ice cream in chocolate and vanilla flavors alongside globally inspired seasonal offerings including passionfruit, guava, and tiramisu. Known for their commitment to ethical ingredients, Marinho and Sutcliff are currently developing a menu of additional ice cream flavors and toppings free of palm oil and unethically sourced chocolate. “We’re working hard to make a menu that we can really be proud of,” Marinho told VegNews. 

Vegan dessert masters

Marinho and Sutcliff were inspired to launch Vaca’s Creamery after working at Austin-based vegan ice cream shop Sweet Ritual. “Valerie Ward and Amelia Raley, the owners of Sweet Ritual, created a great product and they have amazing customers,” Marinho said. “We were very lucky and we knew it, so we worked hard and listened. We talked to customers about what they liked, what they didn’t (even if it was fantastic), and most [importantly, we asked] what makes them happy.”

While in Austin, Marinho and Sutcliff launched All Tomorrow’s Pastries, a top eight allergen-free waffle cone company, and soon began supplying cones to Sweet Ritual and Austin-based NadaMoo! Scoop Shop. When their clients stopped ordering ice cream cones at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the pair relocated to Chicago where they focused on making custom vegan cakes inspired by the flavors of Marinho’s upbringing in southern Brazil. 

“We appealed to a lot of people who, like me, don’t like buttercream. It’s not as common in Latin America as it is here [in the US],” Marinho said. “Our seasonal flavors [at Vaca’s Creamery] will inevitably mirror our All Tomorrow’s Pastries cakes because that’s what we love.” Like All Tomorrow’s Pastries, the pair’s new ice cream shop will also offer allergen-friendly menu items. 

In preparation for the launch of Vaca’s Creamery, Sutcliff and Marinho have begun to retire All Tomorrow’s Pastries and will launch a crowdsourcing campaign on Kickstarter. Vaca’s Creamery will be located at 1436 West Blackhawk Street where orders will be taken through a COVID-friendly walk-up window.