Biologist Paul Jarvis has a dream to make the best dairy-free ice creme on the market. After spending nearly three years developing a secret recipe, Jarvis’ ice creme is now delighting Black Hills residents.

Jarvis and his wife, Kim, opened DeVine Delights vegan ice creme—not cream since his product is dairy free—parlor and deli in Rapid City, South Dakota, in May. They serve vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice creme daily, plus five additional flavors such as bananas foster, mango, peanut butter, mocha and cookie flavors. DeVine Delights also makes its own Italian ices, gelato, ice cream sandwiches and brownie sundaes.

“The most popular by far is anything with chocolate,” Jarvis said, chuckling. “There are days our ice creme flies out the door. … People really like our dairy-free ice creme. There’s a lot of people who are bringing in their children that are allergic to dairy, but (our customers are) not just people who are allergic to dairy. A lot of people are just stopping by and getting ice creme.”

Paul and Kim Jarvis, both biologists and vegans, lived in Montana cattle country before moving to South Dakota. They understand the challenges of finding delicious options when eating a diet limited by allergies, food intolerances or a choice to avoid animal products.

DeVine Delights fills a need in the local market for a vegan restaurant, Jarvis said.

“We saw how difficult it was for people who are vegetarian or vegan to access plant-based foods here in Rapid City. Even though there are restaurants that offer vegan options, it’s hard to tell whether they will make sure your foods are not contaminated with animal products,” Jarvis said.

DeVine Delights serves vegan soups, sandwiches, entrees, salads, cinnamon rolls and desserts; some are gluten-free. Jarvis’ artisenal ice creme is the signature item. The ice creme is entirely plant based, made from Jarvis’ original proprietary blend. Jarvis will only reveal that his ice creme is created with an ingredient grown in South Dakota. The ice creme is all natural and does not contain nuts, artificial colors or ingredients. Haagen-Dazs, Ben & Jerry’s and other top brands make vegan ice creme from nuts such as cashews, almonds or coconut, Jarvis said.

“I used my knowledge of food science and chemistry, and I had some ideas about things I could combine to make this plant-based ice cream,” Jarvis said. “I started doing a lot of research about the ice cream industry and how ice cream is made and the science behind it. I combined that with my experimentations and finally came up with an ice creme that tastes like dairy but isn’t dairy.”

Aside from the taste and the sense of accomplishment, making dairy-free ice creme comes with a fun factor.

“Ice creme makes people smile,” Jarvis said.

The Jarvises believe the timing is right for a vegan restaurant in Rapid City. The vegan food industry overall is growing rapidly, Jarvis said, because of people who want to eat healthfully, people who have dietary issues and age.

“To a great extent (the industry) is being driven by millennials. We receive a great deal of support from the millennial population here in town,” Jarvis said. “Most of the people coming to us are vegan or vegetarian. We get a few people who are curious. We get a lot of people who are carnivores who say, ‘I just want to try your food.’ … We have incredible foods you would never know are vegan.”