Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated August 17, 2019. Inactive links were removed on November 28, 2021.
Updated on August 17, 2019:
When Rebecca & Ethan of Traveling with Sunscreen asked me to name my favorite vegetarian food in Austria, there could only be one answer: ice cream! You can read their blog post here: Best Vegetarian Food in the WORLD: The Ultimate Bucket List.
Original blog post:
I publish a vegan restaurant guide about vegetarian restaurants in Vienna, The Vegan Tourist: Vienna, and have seen many restaurants open and close since I published the first edition in 2014. I shared my insights about some of the reasons why restaurants fail in two blog posts, Survival Tips for Small Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurants, and How to choose the right location for your vegan or vegetarian restaurant (and a few other tips).
Today, I would like to tell you another story about a vegan business venture, Veganista. I am happy to tell you that this business is thriving.
Veganista is owned by two sisters, Cecilia Havmöller und Susanna Paller, who make vegan ice cream without artificial ingredients. They use many organic and locally sourced ingredients, and soy, oat, rice, and coconut milk to produce their ice cream flavors, which are sold in nine different stores. They started out with one ice cream parlor in 2014, and five years later they own nine ice cream parlors and a vegan restaurant.
Not all flavors are available each day, and not all flavors are available at all nine parlors on the same day. Those Veganista sisters keep their customers guessing, which is true marketing genius. On Veganista’s Facebook page, information is posted about each day’s ice cream flavors at all the different ice cream parlors, and there are 18 different flavors available at each location. If you are in the mood for orange-saffron-olive oil ice cream, or flavors like almond-coconut, blueberry-lavender, peanut butter, basil, lemongrass, matcha, or my personal favorite, the adults-only Döblinger Kirsche (cherries, pieces of vegan brownies and chocolate, and an alcoholic cherry-rum sauce all mixed into one heavenly flavor of ice cream), Veganista is the place for you. There are many more traditional ice cream flavors available, like poppyseed, hazelnut, strawberry-agave, raspberry-lemon, peach, mango, lychee, chocolate, or maracuja, to name but a few.
Veganista sells a special treat, the Inbetweener, which is basically a huge ice cream cookie, and of which different kinds are sold at different parlors: Peach Cobbler, Cookie Cookie Cookie, Coconut Toto, and Nuts About You are popular Inbetweener.
The quality of their ice cream and their inventive ice cream flavors are undoubtedly a major reason for Cecilia’s and Susanna’s success. But many of the small vegetarian restaurants in Vienna, which opened and closed after doing business for just a short period of time, also served good food. Why are the Veganista sisters successful, when others fail?
The Veganista ice cream parlors are tiny, and they don’t have in-door seating, which means the sisters can rent small retail spaces at affordable prices. The Veganista stores open at around 12:00 noon, as few people buy ice cream in the morning. By setting smart opening hours, which change throughout the year, Veganista can keep personnel costs down. The sisters also choose their locations very carefully, often next door to or in the vicinity of other vegetarian businesses. After all, there’s always room for ice cream after lunch or dinner.
In May 2019, Cecilia Havmöller und Susanna Paller opened their first restaurant, The LaLa, where they serve vegan food inspired by one of their favorite cities, Los Angeles. They serve rice and quinoa bowls and salads with avocado, fresh seeds, nuts, and other healthy plant-based ingredients. The location of this restaurant? Right next door to their Veganista flagship store in Vienna’s 7th district.