There's a new all-inclusive ice cream shop in Chapel Hill. Vegan Ice Cream Man, founded in 2019, serves plant-based ice cream that is dairy, egg, cruelty and nut free.
The founder, Theodore Chatfield, has always had a passion for ice cream. The shop officially opened in September.
“In New York City, an ice cream truck would come through my neighborhood about two to three times a day," Chatfield said. "As I kid, I became fascinated by it because when he would come, I felt like he had super powers.”
He started in the frozen dessert business when he was young, working for his grandmother’s shaved ice push cart in New York City. At 16, he rented an ice cream truck because he had always wanted to sell ice cream.
At 19, Chatfield purchased a soft serve ice cream truck and worked this truck in NYC until he was 32. He then moved his truck to Raleigh, where he operated it for another two years.
Although he's been vegetarian since he was 17, he decided to go vegan when he was 33.
"When I became a vegan, it was really hard for me to sell dairy ice cream to people," Chatfield said. "I no longer believed in the product. It kind of felt like I was selling people poison."
After 10 years without ice cream, Chatfield said he had a dream about making ice cream without dairy, nuts, soy and gluten. He worked on his recipe for three years, and the rest is history.
Chatfield said he wants to encourage others to adopt veganism through his ice cream shop.