Frozen dessert chain Vampire Penguin plunges into Chesterfield

Rivai H Tukimen

Frozen dessert chain Vampire Penguin recently opened a location in Chesterfield County. The shop sells “shaved snow,” a dessert that features toppings and syrups. (Photos courtesy of Vampire Penguin)

The second location of a penguin-themed frozen dessert concept has opened in the region.

A new Vampire Penguin store opened in early May at 14822 Hull Street Road in western Chesterfield near Moseley.

Vampire Penguin serves so-called “shaved snow,” which is a creamy shaved ice dessert that features toppings and syrups. Most menu items range from $6 to $10 and include coffee toffee, strawberry shortcake, pina colada and more. The shop also offers a build-your-own option.

The Chesterfield Vampire Penguin, which occupies a 1,500-square-foot space, is licensed by Tapan Patel and his friend Dharmendra Patel. Different operators run the Vampire Penguin in Henrico County, which is in the Town Center at Twin Hickory shopping center.

A few weeks into operation, Rupal Patel, who is Tapan’s wife, said business has been good, and they selected their spot to be in a growing part of the region.

“It’s a great spot because we know (the area) is growing. There are a lot of kids,” she said. “We definitely got so much support from our community. We didn’t do much marketing, it was word of mouth and we’re shocked by the amount of support.”

Vampire Penguin opened in May at 14822 Hull Street Road.

Tapan Patel also owns the nearby Maya’s Mart convenience store, and Rupal said she thought the existing community connection there helped generate interest in Vampire Penguin and get over the challenge of being a relatively new concept in the region. She said the novelty of the concept was a draw for the local operators.

“There’s already a lot of ice cream shops and bakeries,” she said. “It looked really promising and it is. People love it because the calories are low and it’s still flavorful.”

Rupal said there aren’t immediate plans to open additional locations of Vampire Penguin but that could change depending on how things go with the newly opened shop.

The Vampire Penguin spot has been occupied by a few businesses over the years, including Greenway Beef and Produce. Rupal said more recently it was a CBD shop. Rupal runs Henrico-based firm RP Design & Style and handled interior design on the shop. She declined to share the investment in the space.

Vampire Penguin has about 30 locations in Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Arizona, Utah and California, according to its website. The two Richmond-area locations are the only ones in Virginia.

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