Get Cool-a at Lula’s Sweet Apothecary

Lula’s Sweet Apothecary

Location: 516 East 6th Street, New York, NY 10009 (Alphabet City)

Reviewed By: Terry Chao


One step inside the quaint, retro-creamery that is Lula’s Sweet Apothecary, I was in love. Since my very first bite into a freshly scooped, double tier strawberry and mint chocolate-chip sugar cone 3 sweltering summers ago, I knew I’d be willing to make the hike out to alphabet city just to get my next fix.

Since each batch of Lula’s 100% vegan ice cream is churned on the premises in small batches, you know you’re getting the most bang for your buck. And it doesn’t come cheap: one single cone is $3.95 and a double $5.50. Still, considering the quality of the product you get, I would say it’s worth it on special occasions.

Lula’s is the definition of a charming hole-in-the-wall: vintage medicinal advertisements for toothwash, blood purifiers and pain pills bedeck the walls, and the glass counter display houses plenty of ancient-looking bottles that at one point must’ve held some questionably effective cure-all elixirs or syrups.

There are also fair-trade chocolate bars available in a small display window on the counter and confection-flavored lip balms from Crazy Rumors. On the opposite shelf, plenty of Sweet and Sara vegan marshmallows, Go Max candy bars and vegan handbooks can be found.

A small booth-style table faces the cashier area, complete with 4 galvanized diner-style swivel stools. It’s exactly what a mom-and-pop ice cream shop should be, and the fact that it’s vegan makes it that much better.

The servers at Lula’s have always been very hospitable and seemed accustomed to answering the cursory questions of “Is it really vegan?” “How do you guys do it?” and, of course, the standard “Do you have a bathroom?” (the latter to which the answer is no).

They also don’t get too annoyed if you ask for more than three samples, a limit which I’ve personally set, and which I’m sure many others have broken. Just don’t be an ice cream Grinch and stand there eating samples! I love that they use stainless steel sample spoons as well, since I always feel guilty when I toss a bunch of those adorable plastic spoons.

On my most recent visit, I ordered the ice cream sundae with one scoop each (as it comes with three scoops) of strawberry, coffee and mint chip. These were cozily sandwiched between a halved banana. I then chose to add hot fudge, rice mallow cream and candied pecans as my additional toppings, which were all topped off with a scrumptious dark maraschino cherry, malt powder and soy whip.

The toppings complemented the ice cream nicely and made for a heady sugar rush. However, the hot fudge did aid in the melting process, so if you do plan on ordering it as one of your toppings, just bear that in mind.

My mainstay and overall favorite flavor at Lula’s has been strawberry. Since it is made with coconut milk, the texture is much more appealing and creamier than many of Lula’s soy-based flavors, which I have found to be dry, much like the consistency of glue paste.

Another small but enormously appreciated amenity Lula’s provides is a self-serve pitcher of water on the parlor table, complete with glass cups, if that fair-trade sugar starts aching the ol’ back tooth. And if it’s empty, don’t be afraid to ask for a new bottle. They’re more than happy to refill your glass, unlike many establishments that give you a stinkeye when you ask for plain old tap water (or make you pay for a disposable cup, like Stogo does).

Lula’s regularly changes their flavor offerings and posts their current ones on their Facebook page, so be sure to subscribe to stalk your favorite flavors.

Overall, I always enjoy a visit to Lula’s, even if all of the 4 seats in the house are all full. It’s ice cream worth standing up for!


Food: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Service: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Price: 3 out of 5 stars



Terry Chao is a freelance journalist and vegan junk-food devourer based in NYC. She first became vegan in November 2006, a night she will remember forever since there was absolutely nothing to eat in the fridge besides a lone can of beans and a stale slice of white bread, which promptly changed after she set out to explore every vegan restaurant in the near vicinity. You can read more about her vegan food-scavenging adventures on Vegan Chao.





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