Vegan Austin institutions pizza truck Li’l Nonna’s and ice cream shop Sweet Ritual are opening up a new vegan pizzeria this fall. Big Nonna’s will be found at 12601 Tech Ridge, Suite 300 at the Crossing at Parmer Lane starting sometime in October, initially offering takeout and delivery services only.
Taking cues from its parent truck and ice cream shop, Big Nonna’s will serve an entirely vegan menu, from pizza (pepperonis made with beets, pumpkin seed-based cheeses) to ice cream (made with coconut milk, almond butter, peanut butter, sunflower seed butter, or a soy/coconut mix bases). There are plans to feature dedicated gluten- and soy-free items, as well as gelato, salads, and other appetizers.
Big Nonna’s co-owners are Rob Lordi of Li’l Nonna’s and Amelia Raley of Sweet Ritual. The North Austin location made sense for the restaurant because “there is a big demand for vegan and gluten-free food” in the area, says Raley.
The two became friends after meeting through a Facebook group for vegan food business owners. They decided that they wanted to open a new restaurant together, and had been working on it for the past two years. Rounding out the Big Nonna’s team is Sean Connolly, who previously worked at Dallas vegan restaurant Spiral Diner.
Lordi, who had worked in the management department at Via 313, opened Li’l Nonna’s in 2016. Raley opened Sweet Ritual in its original Hyde Park home on Duval Street in 2011, and relocated to Airport Boulevard in 2016.
During the novel coronavirus pandemic, Sweet Ritual had temporarily closed in mid-March, and reopened for curbside pickups in May. Raley notes that “sales are down significantly.” On the other hand, Li’l Nonna’s “has seen a boost in business,” she says, to the point where it needed to expand. Both locations will remain open when Big Nonna’s debuts.
Ahead of Big’s opening, the restaurant is selling gift cards to help fund the opening costs.
Big Nonna’s hours will be from noon to 10 p.m. daily. Dine-in service will be added later, following the COVID-19 guidelines issued by local nonprofit Good Works Austin.