A year after the beloved, Latina-owned Jocelyn’s Bakery departed the Mission after serving pastries alongside healthy juices for some two decades, it turns out that come October, 3566 20th St. at the corner of Lexington will reopen as an ice cream parlor and that its owner – much like the previous tenant – is a health-conscious, female entrepreneur with a sweet tooth.
Erin Lang is the creator of Garden Creamery, an exotic ice cream line that has supplied many Bay Area shops with vegan sorbets, organic chocolate-dipped ice cream sandwiches and other frozen desserts.
“It’s not necessarily healthy, because it’s ice cream, but we use quality ingredients,” the Hawaiian transplant explained.
Garden creamery began in 2011 as a dairy free company, mainly because Lang did not have the financial means to access a pasteurizer.
“There are a lot of dairy laws,” Lang said. “When we found a facility where we could pasteurize our dairy, we were able to add an organic ice cream line.”
Lang has come a long way from her humble beginnings five years ago, when she first began making a name for her speciality ice cream line by serving it on wheels, out of a trailer.
Through catering gigs and by distributing to grocery stores, Lang’s ice cream gained popularity. In 2012, Lang secured $35,000 by launching a crowdfunding campaign, allowing her to upgrade to a bona fide food truck a year later.
The 20th Street storefront, which she will operate with the help of her boyfriend, Donald Capozzi, will be her first brick-and-mortar location.
“We never thought we’d be able to open up in the Mission,” said Lang, who landed the space after one of her friends found it advertised on Craigslist. For almost a year, the couple had been working on locking down one of two locations in the Tenderloin.
“It’s a dream come true,” she said, especially because the space comes with a back entrance that allows easy access to loading the truck, ensuring that it will stay in operation for the time being.
Lang signed a 10-year-lease for the 1,100 square-foot space back in January, and began its overhaul earlier this summer.
Once renovations are completed, the space will host a serviced, cafe-like storefront and a back kitchen that will be fitted with a pasteurizer, which the ice cream entrepreneurs will use to make their product in-house, allowing for both dairy and vegan options.
Lang said she plans to bring “a lot of the island” to her Mission District shop, referring to her Oahu roots. That means that customers can expect coconut-based, agave-sweetened flavors like taro and butter mochi – the first is a nutty, starchy tuber commonly used in Asian desserts, and the latter is the “Hawaiian spin-off” of mochi, a traditional Japanese rice cake with ice cream filling.
“There’s definitely an Asian influence,” said Lang. “It’s not going to be just your typical banana, chocolate, mint flavors.”
Alongside the pasteurized ice cream, she also plans on continuing her dairy free line in store, with “Kona coffee and other fun flavors.”
Lang and Capozzi have done a lot of the build-out of the space themselves.
“He’s a jack of all trades,” said Lang of Capozzi, who is tasked with maintenancing the truck and handling the businesses’ logistics.
The couple met in the kitchen at Homeward Bound of Marin, a homeless shelter and family-services program where Lang used a kitchen to test her ice cream creations and Capozzi, who was formerly homeless, was a resident and worked as the head of maintenance.
“We met, and the whole thing flourished from there,” she said. Now, the couple runs the small business “hand-in-hand.”
Lang described Garden Creamery as a “mom-and-pop shop,” and said she hopes to add to the neighborhood’s fabric in a similar way as Jocelyn’s bakery did.
“We are hands on, and we produce everything ourselves,” she said. “We are excited to be a part of the community, serve the community, and hire people from the community.”
As to the sizable selection of ice cream shops – Bi-Rite Creamery, Mitchell’s Ice Cream, Humphry Slocombe, Xanath Ice Cream and others – that line the Mission, Lang said a bit of competition is always healthy.
“We are here to put our best foot forward,” she said. “We are just planning on putting a lot of love into our business” – although there is a slight chance that the in-house pasteurizer will give her shop somewhat of a leg up.