Restaurant Review

Queen Street Creamery

Awesome vegan ice cream, questionable customer service. We’re not sure how to feel about the people behind Queen Street Creamery social media.

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Vegan Friendly
2/5
Atmosphere
5/5
Customer Service
2/5
Price
3/5
3/5

Questionable!

Queen Street Creamery

Queen Street Creamery is a retro looking food truck that serves ice cream and ice cream treats here in Fredericton, NB. They craft their ice cream and waffle cones from scratch in small batches. They are a seasonal business, and can be found parked at various locations around Fredericton during the summer months. The Queen Street Creamery ice cream truck can usually be found parked at Picaroons during the afternoon and into the late evening. On Thursday nights they can often be found parked at the Garrison Night Market from 4:30 – 9pm. Although the majority of their menu is non-vegan, they offer vegan waffle cones, a few vegan ice cream flavours, and vegan sorbet. Queen Street Creamery is under the same ownership as Chess Piece Pâtisserie, so their ice cream can also be found at the cafe on Queen Street.  

Vegan Friendly
2/5

This is a difficult one to judge because we’ve had experiences to both extremes. The first time we went to Queen Street Creamery, we had a really good, vegan friendly experience. We ordered vegan waffle cones with vegan coffee almond ice cream, and everything went smoothly. They even reposted us on instagram and chatted us up about being vegan. I got the sense that the person talking to us really understood the value and purpose of offering vegan options, and that they were happy to cater to this niche. They even gave us insider info about the upcoming vegan flavours they were offering! We felt very positively about this place and the fact that they had vegan options. I had a lot of confidence in their vegan options. I would say the first time we went, they were super vegan friendly.

However, more recently, we had a really negative experience here. We both ordered vegan ice cream in vegan waffle cones. Although it seemed like there was some confusion between the person taking our order and the person serving the ice cream, our order was correctly repeated between the two of them, at least twice. Also important to note that at this point we were the only customers at the truck!

When we got our ice cream, I was immediately skeptical. My cone looked a bit different than my boyfriends. But since they confirmed ‘vegan waffle cone’ as they handed it off to me, I dismissed my suspicion. Especially considering they make their cones in the truck, I figured a bit of variation is bound to happen.

I took a bite of my cone, still skeptical, and I immediately could tell, this was not the cone I was served last time. It was much drier, and lighter in colour than my boyfriends – which more so resembled the first ones we got. At this point I knew it couldn’t be a vegan cone, despite being told multiple times that it was!

My boyfriend was kind enough to bring mine back and ask the staff about the cones, since they both looked so different! Initially, the employee he asked told him, no, they are both vegan. But then the other employee came around and second guessed it. She looked at the cones, and determined mine was not vegan.

Although they offered up a replacement vegan cone, I was obviously very shook that I consumed something with egg in it after being vegan for so long! I felt like I should have known better and listened to my instincts, rather than blindly trusting a restaurant. I did end up eating the vegan replacement, which I could immediately tell had the correct cone. But the experience left a bad taste in my mouth – because murder obviously.

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Being distraught and all, I posted about it to our instagram story. I captioned the image with a blurb about how we ordered vegan cones and were served a murder cone. Followed by another photo explaining how the staff initially denied this mistake. The restaurant contacted me a few hours later with a message that felt more backhanded than I had anticipated. It started off with an apology, but was followed by:

“We try our best to cater to all our customers with allergies however we were not notified of an allergy”

The first thing I thought when I read this was, wow, veganism isn’t about allergies! Veganism, for most people, is a lifestyle. It’s not just a diet we try to adhere to. The word vegan refers to a specific way of living that attempts to exclude animal products and exploitation from your life. I’m used to specifying allergies at non-vegan restaurants since it seems like the only way to get them to understand what I mean by ‘vegan’. But since Queen Street Creamery specifically offers a vegan option, I assumed they knew what vegan meant.

Vegans typically avoid non-vegan foods for ethical – not just allergy or health – reasons. The word vegan is used to represent the willing and conscious decision to exclude animal products from our lives. It doesn’t refer to simply excluding them because you’re allergic and have no choice. So to me, if a restaurant starts using that term, they should know the audience they are catering to and by extension why they’re serving it.

The word vegan is targeted to the people who have excluded animal products for ethical reasons, not for allergy reasons. So to crack the vegan options up to an allergy issue, seems to be missing the point here. I shouldn’t have to be deathly allergic to eggs to be guaranteed a vegan product, when I order a vegan product. Not being allergic to animal ingredients does not make the choice to not consume them any less valid, or serious. And by using the word vegan on their menu, it implies they know they are serving customers who REALLY don’t want to consume animal products. Also I’d consider specifying the vegan option enough notification.

“If it [allergy] is severe, a double confirmation would be handy for any staff handling food”

This next comment follows along the same lines. I should not have to double confirm that I’m allergic to eggs to be guaranteed to get the vegan option I ordered. Even though I’m not allergic to eggs, I really, really, do not want to consume them. To me, eggs are not food.

I understand there’s always a risk of cross contamination when ordering vegan at a non-vegan restaurant, but to say I have to mention an allergy to be more likely served the vegan options seems weird. What’s the point of flashing the word VEGAN around if you don’t actually take the needs of that specific niche seriously. Even if it’s not a severe allergy, the choice to not consume animal products should not be taken any less seriously. This comment shook my confidence in how vegan friendly the restaurant actually is. It makes me question WHY they are selling vegan options. Is it to cater to vegan? Or is it to ride a trend?

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When I questioned the fact that I have to mention allergies to be served something vegan Queen Street Creamery responded:

“Yes it’s important to tell staff about allergies. We get customers with egg allergies who, when we are alerted, take care to try to meet their needs.”

I thought they were trying to cater to a vegan audience – people who chose not to consume eggs – yet I have to specify that I don’t want egg still? I thought specifying vegan did just that? Although they are implying I did not give them proper notice of what I wanted to be served, I think the fact that I explicitly told them VEGAN multiple times was sufficient warning.

“Washing scoops thoroughly, checking for unopened tubs of sorbet with a guarantee of no cross contamination are a couple things we can do… when told.”

Again, this feels to me as though they’re insinuating that because I didn’t notify them of an egg allergy, they couldn’t do anything about the fact that I was served something with egg in it.. Despite informing them I wanted the VEGAN (AKA no egg) cone. And again with the backhanded “… when told”. Sorry Queen Street Creamery, but you were told. You just made a mistake, and that should be where the conversation ends.

“Otherwise, all cones are made on the same irons, sometimes regular cones break into tubs, and the scoops are dipped into the same water which are changed frequently.”

Like I said, I understand cross contamination is a risk when dealing with products that aren’t vegan certified, or restaurants that aren’t 100% vegan, but this isn’t what I was upset about. I’m okay with the risk of cross contamination. I’m not okay with being served a straight up non-vegan cone when I asked for the vegan one. Not that I found a small chunk of one mixed in.

“We tell this to anyone inquiring about an allergy. It’s not a secret that it’s a small space, sometimes with a lot going on. And the cones do look very similar, understandable that the first employee thought they were vegan.”

So I guess the employee didn’t know better so it doesn’t matter? My concern is no longer valid? People make mistakes, but don’t try to discredit my concern because your employees can’t tell the difference. You offer vegan for a reason, and I’m sure it isn’t because you want to alienate your customers. By offering vegan options I feel like you’re taking on a bit of social responsibility to serve those customers. Mistakes happen, but I shouldn’t have to argue with the restaurant to convince them what happened wasn’t right. It felt like they were defending themselves, rather than attempting to make amends. Although they apologized, I still feel like they were trying to shift part of the blame and responsibility to me.

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Although our last visit to Queen Street Creamery wasn’t the most pleasant, we never planned on boycotting the place over this mistake. We understand mistakes like this happen, and we see similar mix ups happen on Instagram all the time! We love their ice cream, and now we know for sure the difference between the vegan and non-vegan cones, so I figured going back would be fine as long as we were careful. However, the response following the incident has made me feel even worse about their restaurant than ever before. At the end of our initial interaction with Queen Street Creamery on Instagram, they said:

“Again, very sorry for the mix up and hopefully we haven’t lost you as customers! Have a great rest of your day!”

I’m not sure if they were just saying this to be polite, but it really didn’t feel meaningful. On top of the rude undertone throughout our entire initial interaction, following the incident they didn’t seem to be interested in interacting with us on social media. Usually they repost customers and engage on social media with people who post about them. The first time we posted about Queen Street Creamery, they seemed more than happy to like, comment, and share our content. However, when we posted about our vegan ice cream after getting the non-vegan cone, no engagement.

I tagged them in a positive review of their ice cream I posted on our Instagram feed. We’re used to brands – especially local ones – engaging with our content to some degree. Our previous experience with Queen Street Creamery had also led me to believe they would do the same. However, a few days passed and they didn’t like, comment, or share the post.

In this time they have been active on their Instagram. I’ve seen them reposting other customer stories, sharing their own, and making feed posts. I know they’re under no obligation to respond to us on social media, but it just felt strange that they were unreceptive to our content after the negative experience we had. If they really wanted us to stay customers, would they not engage with us on social media like any other customer?

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It has made me feel reluctant to revisit as it feels like there’s some tension on their end. I don’t know if they’re upset that I called out the mistake on social media, but I don’t regret posting about it. My goal is to be as honest with our followers on Instagram as possible. Even when the experience isn’t positive. I was initially worried about how our followers would perceive me knowing I ate something that wasn’t vegan, but I want our content to be relatable. I want people to know that we make mistakes too.

All in all, we used to think Queen Street Creamery was very vegan friendly. After getting served something non-vegan from them, then having them defend themselves for it via Instagram, I don’t think they’re very vegan friendly. To us, to be vegan friendly is to understand what vegan means and serve things in a way that reflects this.

Vegan means to exclude animal products and exploitation from your diet for ethical, moral, environmental or health reasons. Not to avoid certain foods based on an allergy to them. Although it is technically a ‘choice’ for vegans to not consume animal products, anyone who offers vegan options should at least take this decision seriously, and respect it for what it is! For Queen Street Creamery to essentially excuse serving me a non-cone on the basis that I didn’t inform them of an allergy just lets me know they’re not really catering to the niche audience that is veganism. I didn’t feel like my decision to choose the non-vegan option for ethical reasons was respected or taken seriously, as evident by their response on Instagram.

Disclaimer

Since this is more of a negative review than we would usually leave, I feel like I should disclaim that this was just based on our negative experience! Although we had a bad experience with Queen Street Creamery, some of our local followers let me know they’ve only ever had positive experiences with them. One follower in particular told me the owner, Patty, has always been very accommodating to her. It’s possible our interaction didn’t involve Patty, who might have had a different take on the situation. Personally, I hope that the owner would be more compassionate towards the situation than whoever I was corresponding with over Instagram. I am interested in knowing if the person communicating with us via Instagram was the owner, or an employee.

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Atmosphere
5/5

Queen Street Creamery has such an appealing aesthetic. Their truck is retro, nostalgic and looks classy af! We love how they used a retro theme and colour pallet. It makes their truck feel like a real ice cream truck you’d see in an old movie. I mean it doesn’t drive around blaring the sounds of ice cream truck dreams, but it’s about as close as you’ll get in real life 2k19. Perfect destination for instagram worthy shots on a hot summer’s day! Visiting their truck really does make it feel like summer. Overall, we love the look and location of their truck! Perfect summer atmosphere.

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Customer Service
2/5

I’m sorry, but if you’ve made it this far into the review, you’ve probably already read a lot about the customer service here. It’s mediocre at best. On a good day, I’m sure it’s fine. It’s not like they gave us a hard time when we were ordering, but there was a lot of tension. It seemed like there was tension between the person taking our order and the person scooping the ice cream, which made us uncomfortable. I obviously don’t know what happens behind the scenes, nor do I have the full story, but I do spend A LOT of time people watching. It’s not hard for me to pick up on people’s energy – I spent 5 years studying human behaviour after all.

I’m not sure if the tension I felt when we were at Queen Street Creamery was related to how they engaged with us over Instagram, but it wouldn’t surprise me. Overall, the customer service isn’t the worst, but there’s nothing great about it either. I think it’s worth mentioning though that Queen Street Creamery is owned by Chess Piece Pâtisserie. The night before we went to Queen Street Creamery and got served a non-vegan cone, we went to Chess Piece to see if we could buy a tub of ice cream directly from them – since they sell them in store.

We went in 15 minutes before close – at 8:45 – on a Thursday night, after discovering Queen Street Creamery wasn’t at the Garrison Night Market. There were two other customers at the counter so we figured it was still open for business. When we got in, we overheard the people in front of us were also asking about ice cream. I didn’t hear the full conversation, but it ended with the cashier telling them that Queen Street Creamery was parked at Picaroons. I was worried they were sold out of ice cream, and with only 15 minutes before close, we knew we wouldn’t make it all the way across the bridge to Queen Street Creamery.

Despite the previous customers walking away empty handed we asked the cashier if they had any ice cream. She said they did, but they closed in 10 minutes so they were already put away.. We told her we wanted to buy a tub of ice cream, and she responded that Queen Street Creamery was parked across the bridge. Although we already knew this, and that it was closing in 10 minutes, we said okay, and walked away.

We were both really confused that they literally just turned our money away. And that they just gave us the worst customer service ever. I was wondering what my boss would have said when I was working at Home Depot if I just turned a customer away! So although this experience didn’t happen directly at the Queen Street Creamery truck, it did happen at their parent company. Overall, getting poor customer service at both the locations that sell Queen Street Creamery ice cream has made us feel less than positively about this company / restaurant.

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Price
3/5

This is another aspect of the restaurant that I’m conflicted about. Overall I think the prices are okay. They sell single, double, and triple scoops. The single scoop is $4.25, a double scoop is $6.50, and a triple scoop is $9.00. This price includes a freshly made vegan waffle cone, so it’s actually not that bad. Especially considered everything there is homemade.

The first time we went I felt like it was a better value because the scoops were so generous, however the last time we went, it seemed like the serving sizes were way smaller! I guess this depends on the people working to some degree. I got a single scoop of chocolate sorbet, which was a decent size. The boyfriend on the other hand got a single scoop of the strawberry rhubarb ice cream, and it was so tiny! The scoop – if you could call it that – got hidden deep into the waffle cone. It was like tiny shreds of ice cream stacked into a cone, more than an actual, full scoop.

The first time we went, we got what we paid for and more! I was full after one of their large scoops, however the second time we went, the value seems like it decreased. We got much smaller serving sizes for the same price. Overall, I think I will stick to boxes of Tofutti or So Delicious ice cream treats, since you get 4 – 6 bars for the same price as a double scoop of ice cream at Queen Street Creamery. Not to mention the boxed ice creams will always be guaranteed vegan! And I’m sure the company won’t try to argue with me if something happens and I get the wrong thing by accident!

Vegan Menu Items

Queen Street Creamery has a menu made of mostly non-vegan options. However, they do have anywhere from one to three vegan ice cream flavours at a time. They also have a few sorbets which are vegan too. They frequently switch up their flavours, so you never know what vegan flavours they’ll have! Here’s some of the vegan options we’ve tried so far!

Strawberry Rhubarb Ice Cream (Single Scoop)

Price: $4.25
Rating:
4/5

If strawberry jelly were an ice cream, it would be this strawberry rhubarb flavour.

Chocolate Sorbet (Single Scoop)

Price: $4.25
Rating:
5/5

Chocolate sorbet so decedent it tastes like actual pudding.

Coffee Almond Ice Cream (single Scoop)

Price: $4.25
Rating:
5/5

The classiest coffee flavour blended into a creamy, rich, almond ice cream.

Coffee Almond Ice Cream (Double Scoop)

Price: $6.50
Rating:
5/5

The best coffee ice cream, probably ever, but double stacked this time.

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