During the COVID-19 pandemic most people took up a new skill, whether that was gardening, weight lifting, chess or cooking. Ash and Pretha Kailath took up ice cream-making. Alongside their two children, Laiyla and Augustine, their brain child, Lu & Aug’s, opened just a few weeks ago in Ardmore.
Specializing in soft serve ice cream, the signature offering is affogato, translating directly from Italian to English as “drowned.” Affogato is soft cream ice cream covered in espresso, but Lu & Aug’s coffee-based indulgence doesn’t end there. The shop also offers about half a dozen affogato options from dirty chai and peppermint mocha to the fan-favorite salted caramel.
Setting Lu & Aug’s apart is its dedication to variety. Ash is passionate about the fact that there’s something for everyone at his latest business.
“It’s not just exclusively affogato, We’ve also gone into making sure there’s milkshakes, and when you go in there with a family or with a date, there’s always going to be something you want to try out,” Ash says.
For those with dietary restrictions, perhaps the most intriguing flavor is the oat-based vegan vanilla. Barely distinguishable from traditional soft-serve, it’s perfect for guests looking for a lighter, healthier option.
Of course, classic treats abound as well.
“Especially for those who want to stay on the conventional side of things, there’s the classic twist… that is one of the reasons we want to open up, because we wanted to have an option out there for everyone,” Pretha adds.
It’s important to Ash and Pretha that there’s established variety at Lu & Aug’s. Ice cream and espresso have always been a big part of their life, even back to the days before they were married. Espressos and coffee shops were integral to bringing Ash and Pretha closer together even when they were just dating.
“And when the kids came, it naturally just extended out to ice cream as well,” Ash says.
That passion was turbocharged by trips out to Lancaster with their kids during the pandemic, visiting ice cream and coffee shops away from bustling crowds. Soon their interest expanded to taking espresso training courses.
With their kids always around during that time of uncertainty, it only seemed fitting to include them in the process. Thus, they dubbed Lu & Aug’s after Laiyla and Augustine.
Once Ash and Pretha were more confident in their business model and more serious about the project, they started looking into locations for their storefront. The perfect opportunity fell into their lap when they toured a shuttering shoe store, formerly called Foot Solutions, at the corner of Rittenhouse and Cricket in Ardmore.
“It did take a little bit to envision what it could be, but I think that’s what really set it into motion,” Ash explains.
After nearly two years of searching around Delaware and Montgomery County, Ash and Pretha were ready to take the next step. The transition from shoe store to ice cream kitchen wasn’t exactly straightforward. Lacking a dedicated space for a kitchen, renovations were in order. Due to that extensive process, it took Lu & Aug’s almost two extra months to open. Besides the kitchen, both plumbing and electricity had to be installed from scratch.
As of the July 27 opening, Lu & Aug’s has been a hot commodity in Ardmore.
“From day one, we’ve been swamped. It’s been such an incredible experience where we’ve been,” Ash enthuses.
Barely a month into their new venture, Ash and Pretha are thrilled with Lu & Aug’s.
“We wouldn’t want to change a thing,” they note.
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