Vannah Banana, Philly’s first Black-owned vegan ice cream shop to try this Summer
The rapper-turned-business owner began creating his own ice cream recipes last June.
As the weather gets warmer and Philly residents start to indulge in Summer treats, there is a new vegan ice cream brand on the horizon in the city.
Kianu Walker, the owner of Vannah Banana and a North Philly native, was once a successful rapper, but wanted to start a business that would include all of his family members.
“I also wanted to create a legacy for my family, and Vannah Banana just came to me,” Walker said in a recent interview with AL DÍA News.
His desire to start a business wasn't always something he had planned, but when he started touring the country for his music, noticed there weren't any vegan ice cream shops.
“There weren't any options out there for vegans at all, so I decided to do something about it when I got back home,” said Walker.
When he came back to Philly from touring, he worked at Tattooed Mom on South Street with his father.
His inspiration came during a daily commute there.
“I passed this vegan restaurant called Nourish that was on South Street,” he said. “My dad had the idea to sell his vegan brownies at Nourish, and that gave me the confidence to really start my own business, and so far I have been successful.”
Vannah Banana was started in June 2020, named after his sister, Savannah.
Walker initially wanted his ice cream to have a banana base, but discovered that coconut milk would give it a creamy, rich flavor.
He experimented with different flavors, and used the Vegan Commissary in South Philly as a space for him to create bigger batches of ice cream.
It didn't take too long for Philly residents to see his ice creams pop up in various restaurants all over the city.
As his business grew, Walker wanted to get some of his family members involved and build a legacy alongside them.
“This is really a family business,” he said.
They jumped right in and have since supported his every move. They’re part of the reason the business has taken on bigger prospects for the future.
“It came to life because of my family,” said Walker. “My father makes the baked goods that go into a lot of my ice creams, like my ice cream sandwiches.”
His sister's boyfriend focuses on all of the graphic design, and creates all of the ideas for merchandise.
Walker’s life partner, Tiffany Teich, is also supportive of his business, and creates flyers for events, while also taking the lead on photography.
They also helped design his website and with various other tasks involved in the day-to-day operations.
Business was initially slow in the winter, but Walker sees an uptick in ice cream sales on the horizon, as the weather turns warm.
“So far, sales have been running, which means a lot of people are trying our product,” he said.
Walker wants his customers to know that his ice cream flavors never lack in flavor, like his best-selling ice cream, known as rose gold ice cream. Not only is it easy on the eyes, but also tastes as good as it looks.
“It is so different and it looks good, the rose-flavored ice cream, and organic rose petals infused in it and 24k gold in it,” he said.
He also offers chocolate almond ice cream, and his personal favorite, cookies and cream, made with vegan Oreos.
“Cookies and cream are probably my highest sellers,” he said.
Treat yourself to some guilt-free scoops below!
- Tattooed Mom - 530 South St.
- Nourish - 943 South Ninth St.
- Vegan Commissary - 1429 Wolf St.
- Dream Ice Cream - 33 East Glenside Ave.
- Queen and Rook Cafe - 607 South Second St.