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NYC Cupcake Pioneers Open New Vegan Eatery

Renowned cupcake pioneers switch gears and open a new vegan eatery. Allison and Matt Robicelli, founders of now-closed Bay Ridge bakery Robicelli’s, announced that they’re opening Rip’s Malt Shop, a vegan comfort food restaurant.

Matt and Allison Robicelli became known as pioneers of New York City’s cupcake craze back in the early 2000s. The husband and wife duo closed their shop in 2015 and moved to Baltimore after Matt was diagnosed with an autoinflammatory disease.

In an interview with Eater, Allison talked about their experience and their brand new project. “It was pretty interesting to me because at home we eat a mostly vegan diet. And now, especially with Matt and his health problems, most of our dinners are entirely vegetable-based, but we still kind of miss junk food a lot.”

For Allison, when it comes to vegan meat substitutes, the new options are remarkably different from what it was offered back when she was a vegetarian during her high school and college years. For her, “nothing tasted as good back then.”

The newly opened shop is located at 10 Clermont Ave. at Flushing Avenue near the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The Robicelli’s work in partnership with friend David Schneider, co-owner of NYC’s vegan-friendly taco chain Oaxaca Taqueria and they brought along Chef David Schaap.

The shop offers burgers made with Beyond Meat patties, hot dogs from Field Roast sausages, and the restaurant has their own version of veggie bacon and “Cheez Whiz”. When it comes to ice cream, Rip’s menu has Van Leeuwen’s vegan ice cream and milkshakes. Meanwhile baked goods are all plant-based versions, included the popular Robicelli’s chocolate chip cookies.

“We’re not health freaks,” said Allison to the outlet about the restaurant’s philosophy. “There’s no judgment. There’s no people coming in and me lecturing you for 20 minutes about how we’re vegan. We wanted to make vegan food that everybody would want to eat.”

The Robicellis also hope to expand to a new location in Baltimore and the shop is already among the official food vendors for the HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival.

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