Welcome to summer in Boston: One day is 90 degrees with blistering sunshine; the next day is cool and rainy. Either way, ice cream is always in season, and there’s something especially refreshing (and aesthetically pleasing) about a twirl of soft serve in a cup or cone.
Why not use soft serve as an excuse to say hello to some of Greater Boston’s newcomers? Here’s the rundown on a few of the newest spots in the area that are offering soft serve — including vegan options — this summer, from a modern Irish bar and restaurant in downtown Boston to a general store and sandwich shop in Somerville’s Union Square.
293 Newport Avenue, Quincy
This small shop opened in April 2022, steps from the Wollaston MBTA station, turning popular drinks like milk tea, matcha, and Thai iced tea into soft serve ice cream flavors; black sesame is also on the menu. Try them on their own, with some toppings, or in sundaes, such as the Thai tea sundae, topped with condensed milk, white chocolate pearls, mochi, brown sugar boba, and chocolate Pocky sticks. Chaji Creamery also serves cold brew tea, matcha, milkshakes, and refreshers such as peaflower limeade.
2 Center Plaza, downtown Boston
This brand new addition to Boston, located in the former Kinsale space, is meant to showcase modern Irish cuisine — not the ubiquitous bar fare at Boston’s plethora of Irish and Irish-ish pubs. The menu features items like smoked ham-hock terrine and pearled barley dumplings, the latter of which chef and co-owner Aidan Mc Gee describes as “Irish arancini.” But save room for dessert — there’s a seasonal soft serve flavor available (as well as a sampler of Irish cheeses with honey).
Vinal General Store
220 Somerville Avenue, Union Square, Somerville
Sibling and neighbor to Vinal Bakery, this friendly new sandwich shop opened in early 2022 and has recently added soft serve to the menu. It’s “Hot Swirl Summer,” says Vinal. To start, it’s just classic vanilla with chocolate or rainbow sprinkles, but the team is working on other fun flavors and toppings, so keep an eye out for updates. (Note: Vinal General Store will be closed July 3 through 5, so you’ll have to look elsewhere for your soft serve treat on the long weekend.)
Coming Soon: Taiyaki NYC’s new Cambridge location
6 Church Street, Harvard Square, Cambridge
This New York-based chain already has a popular location in Boston’s Seaport that opened back in 2019; it’s been churning up colorful swirls of soft serve in ridiculously cute fish-shaped cones ever since. It’s expanding to Harvard Square next, opening in the former Mint Julep storefront in conjunction with its sibling mochi doughnut shop, the Dough Club. Look for a debut later in summer 2022, possibly in July.
675 West Kendall Street, Kendall Square, Cambridge; 61 Brookline Avenue, Fenway, Boston (coming soon)
PlantPub opened its original location in late 2021 and will be opening a second location — a massive one — imminently, steps from Fenway Park. The casual restaurant serves a fully vegan range of comfort foods, as well as beer and wine. The soft serve, available in vanilla and chocolate (or swirl), is made from an Oatly oat drink base. Get it in a cup or cone, a frappe, or a root beer float.
Whole Foods Market, 348 Harrison Avenue, South End, Boston
This fast-casual chain from Top Chef alum Spike Mendelsohn is meant to be a vegan take on fast-food favorites, like burgers, fries, and milkshakes. Find it inside the Whole Foods location at the Ink Block development in Boston’s South End to try vanilla, chocolate, and swirl soft serve, which is oat milk-based. There are milkshakes, too, in those three flavors as well as “s’mores campfire” and mint cookies and cream.
148 Brookline Avenue, Fenway
Juice bar chain Pressed, which has several Massachusetts locations, expanded to Fenway at the end of 2021. In addition to cold-pressed juices, Pressed features mostly vegan treats, including “freezes” — soft serve in flavors like acai, dragonfruit, and vanilla. A standard order includes up to three toppings; choose from options such as gummy bears, fresh berries, granola butter, and more. (A few of the toppings are not vegan, but most are.) Find older locations in Back Bay, Harvard Square, and Wellesley.