May 2, 2023 By Michael Dorgan
The popular high-end ice cream purveyor Van Leeuwen will open in the Ditmars section of Astoria on Thursday, May 4, marking the company’s first-ever Queens location.
Van Leeuwen, which has more than 40 locations throughout the U.S., will open on the corner of Ditmars Boulevard and 33rd Street, taking over a space previously occupied by the bar/restaurant The Boutique. The company’s city locations consist of 16 shops in Manhattan and six in Brooklyn, according to its website.
To mark the opening, the shop at 33-01 Ditmars Blvd. will offer $1 scoops between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. while the first 100 customers will nab a free tote bag, according to the company.
The company is known for its French-style ice cream which is made from a base of milk, cream, eggs, and cane sugar. Its ice cream typically comes in housemade waffle cones, floats, ice cream sandwiches and pints.
Van Leeuwen’s menu features more than 30 signature flavors many of which contain imported ingredients. Flavors include honeycomb, praline butter cake, marionberry cheesecake, earl grey tea, and pistachio, in which the pistachio is sourced from Mount Etna in Sicily,
The company was established in New York City in 2008 by Pete Van Leeuwen, his brother Ben, and Laura O’Neill, who began selling their ice cream from yellow trucks. It quickly gained a loyal following and grew as the popularity of food trucks was on the rise in the 2010s. The brothers are scheduled to attend the opening.
In 2020 the company secured $18.7 million in investment from Nextworld Evergreen, a San Francisco private equity firm, leading to the expansion of its brick-and-mortar locations and its distribution network in grocery chains such as Walmart, Sprouts, and Whole Foods.
A spokesperson for the company said Van Leeuwen was drawn to Astoria given that its CEO Ben Van Leeuwen often frequents the Greek restaurant Taverna Kyclades, which is also situated on Ditmars Boulevard. Ben Van Leeuwen, the spokesperson said, considers it one of his favorite spots for Greek food.
Opening hours for the Astoria location will be from noon to midnight on Mondays through Sundays.
The opening will come two days after the company opened a shop in the Fulton Ferry District of Brooklyn. The shop in Brooklyn opened Tuesday, May 2.
“We are always excited to open new stores, but especially at home in New York City – the place where it all began 15 years ago,” Ben Van Leeuwen said in a statement.