Putting pudding in its prime place

Posted: June 16, 2011

The region has ice cream, frozen yogurt, gelato, and water ice shops by the score. Cupcakes and soft-serve are sold off of trucks.

Think you have seen everything in desserts? How about a shop dedicated to pudding?

Mike Leibowitz and Bret Binder, who met at Villanova Law School, are about six months into Pudding Lane, a shop on Havertown's commercial district on Brookline Boulevard devoted to the creamy treat.

Much like an ice cream shop, Pudding Lane's centerpiece is a windowed refrigerated case full of bowls of pudding. There's cafe seating inside, and of course, takeout.

Both men have their own businesses, and, while indulging in real estate investing, they encountered an entrepreneurial itch that needed scratching.

Pudding popped into their heads. (Not that they are the first out of the gate with pudding. A store in New York City, Rice to Riches, specializes in it.)

"In real estate," as Leibowitz said, "you're trying to sell one thing for $400,000 to $600,000. In [pudding], you're selling 100,000 things for $4 or $6. It's an affordable luxury."

Sold by the cup, their pudding goes for $2.99 to $4.79.

Pudding Lane's pudding is produced in small batches in a local kitchen and made simply from eggs, sugar, milk, and in some varieties arborio rice. It has about half the calories and one-third the fat of premium ice cream. It's also gluten-free.

But any potential dietary benefits are offset by the syrup and whipped cream toppings. The Abbey "Rocky" Road combo, for example, is chocolate pudding with mini-marshmallows and nuts topped with a dollop of whipped cream.

Binder calls pudding a "creative outlet," as the flavor list changes daily. Staples include lime (served in cups with graham crackers as a riff on key lime pie) and maple French toast that they can warm up in a microwave oven behind the counter. For some people, that flavor is breakfast.

Right now, they say, their best customers are Haverford High and Middle School students. They host birthday parties and send pudding to corporate events.

They're sold on the youth market and, as such, are scouting University City for another location.


 Pudding Lane,


7 Brookline Rd., Havertown 19083; 610-449-2772, gourmetpudding.com.

Contact Michael Klein at mklein@philly.com.

 

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