In Honor of National Ice Cream Month Lokal Artisan Foods and Cloud Cups Release New Collection...

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Philadelphia, PA - Lokal Artisan Foods and owner Charisse McGill has teamed up with Cloud Cups and owner Galen Thomas on a smooth and creamy new summer treat debuting just in time for National Ice Cream Month. French Toast Bites Gelato makes its debut this weekend on July 1st at Spruce Street Harbor Park, Cherry Street Pier, Pizza Brain, Manayunk Pizza and Ashley's Deli - as well as at select local street fairs and festivals. The new collab brings together two of the region's celebrated award-winning Black-owned businesses for a new product collection that is a pivot for both businesses as both recover out of the pandemic. Cloud Cups is a local artisan gelato and sorbet company. The Today Show recently named Cloud Cups' gelato top 50 in America. For Lokal Artisan Foods, the new French Toast Bites Gelato, in two flavors to start, is the most recent product for a company that started with an investment from the owner's daughter's lemonade stand, that then created a nationally recognized brand and collection that now includes French Toast Bites shakes, spice, beer, coffee and now gelato. 
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"French Toast Bites has evolved so much over the past few years from just being a street food," said McGill. "During on-set and height of the pandemic, I had to partner and pivot our way through it by extending the product line. The energy behind the products have inspired more products, like now the Gelato. I am proud to partner with a fellow Black-owned business and congrats to Cloud Cups on being named one of America's top 50 gelatos by the Today Show." 
"Being able to create one of a kind products with one of a kind friends has always held a special place in my heart and this new gelato with Charisse's French Toast Bites is definitely something's made with real French Toast Bites," said Thomas. 
French Toast Bites Gelato brings together a creamy and sultry mix of sugar, spice and everything nice in an artisanal gelato that is available in two flavors to start. It is available in scoops and cones, as well as by the pint. The gelato is made with real French Toast Bites and French Toast Bites Spice, which is made special for Cloud Cups who then has created a creamy and smooth gelato that now comes in French Toast Bites Strawberry and French Toast Bites Stracciatella. The strawberry version is made with made with real French Toast Bites and infused with real strawberries.  French Toast Bites Stracciatella features French Toast Bites blended smooth and mixed with shavings of chocolate throughout. The two flavor profiles mirror the most popular way McGill's customers order French Toast Bites.
The new gelato is available at Spruce Street Harbor Park and Cherry Street Pier at the French Toast Bites physical locations, by the scoop, cone and pint. Pints are also available for delivery on DoorDash and GrubHub. Additional locations include: Pizza Brain, Manayunk Pizza and Ashley's Deli, and others to be announced. 
For this new collaboration and product line, McGill met Thomas through mutual friends. She tried Cloud Cups' gelato and fell in love at first spoonful. The two companies also shared similiar vision and values. She also took note of the diversity of flavors and felt the two could make a top quality product they both could be proud of. They began the process of perfecting the recipe with real French Toast Bites and the French Toast Bites Spice. 
Lokal Artisan Foods and McGill's newest French Toast Bites creation joins a growing collection of products that celebrates McGill's love and passion for French Toast, plus this represents the company's survival and expansion out of the pandemic that saw the company loose tens of thousands of dollars in event revenue. Over the pandemic, McGill pivoted into two new brick-and-mortar locations, and she expanded her offerings to include the gelato, plus Bites, Shakes, Spice, Beer and Coffee. For the expansion, McGill has teamed up with heavy hitters from the region, including Yard's for the French Toast Bites Beer and Bean2Bean Coffee Company for the French Toast Bites Coffee. 
French Toast Bites at Cherry Street Pier is located at 121 N. Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Hours are 4:00pm to 10:00pm on Fridays, and Saturdays and Sundays from 11:00am to 8:00pm. French Toast Bites at Spruce Street Harbor Park is located at 401 S. Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19106. Hours are Monday to Thursday, 5:00pm to 10:00pm, Friday 5:00pm to 11:00pm, and Saturday and Sunday, 11:00am to 11:00pm. 
To celebrate, French Toast Bites at Spruce Street Harbor Park is hosting a special launch party and French Toast Bites Gelato Social on Saturday, July 2nd from 1-6:30pm. McGill said, "We're opening our private deck, just for you.  Join us at our Spruce Street Harbor Park location on our private deck overlooking the Delaware River. Be one of the first in the city to try our new French Toast Bites Gelato in collaboration with local Gelato company, Cloud Cups."

Reservations  includes a shareable pint of choice of French Toast Bites Gelato (Strawberry or Stracciatella) and access to the private deck with service (no need to stand in line) during your time slot. The purchase supports the launch of the new product - with more to come! 
For more about Lokal Artisan Foods, visit Connect on social media at @lokalartisanfoods on Facebook and Instagram.For more about the French Toast Ale, visit  
Lokal Artisan on Instagram: 
Cloud Cups on Instagram: 
Galen Thomas is the founder of Cloud Cups, a proud Black-owned small business and artisanal gelato company in Philadelphia. The budding entrepreneur attended Frozen Dessert University in North Carolina and The Carpigiani Gelato University in Illinois. He founded the business officially in 2018 - and has continued to grow and expand. Look for him at festivals, fairs, farmers' markets and special events in the Philadelphia region and in PA and surrounding states. 

Black and female-owned business Lokal Artisan Foods was founded in 2018 by Charisse McGill, who turned lemonade sales by her daughter into a fast-growing Philly-celebrated brand that now has two brick and mortar locations, a spice on grocery store shelves, two beer releases, and a brand-new French Toast Bites Coffee with Bean2Bean.

McGill, 39, is a Temple University alum, who attended the School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management. She just this month graduated from St. Joseph's Haub School of Business, with an MBA in Food Marketing. She is the former Director of Special Events at Valley Forge Military Academy. She also is known for being an expert in open-air economics and organized the highly successful Lansdale Farmers' Market.

For the energetic and talented food entrepreneur, the launch of the new ale is the highlight of one of the most challenging years in modern history for the hospitality business. It is also the highlight of an exciting and challenging journey from quitting her full-time job and going into business for herself.

Just under three years ago, McGill started her own business with money from her first investor, her daughter. Madison (then 12 years old, now 14 years old) hosted lemonade stands and put the proceeds into her Mom's new business. Those lemons turned into literal and figurative lemonade when McGill headed to her first season at the Made in Philadelphia Market. Her French Toast Bites were a run-away, sold out success! With the funds raised there, she invested back into her business and exploded in 2019 with the debut of her retail version of her priority blend of French Toast Spice - "The Only French Toast Seasoning You Will Need."    

For 2020, McGill had big plans that included more and larger festivals and events, more short-and long term pop-ups, and exploration of a brick and mortar space. Then COVID19 hit and those plans fell apart like they did for many in the hospitality business. These plans really came to a devastating end when the Mayor announced this very week that events would be cancelled until February of 2021. That is an additional seven months of income and opportunity - and the joy of cooking - lost for McGill.
During the global crisis, McGill helped champion and became the first paid vendor on the Black-owned and operated Black and Mobile delivery service. She partnered with Better Box to share kitchen and cooking facilities to host pop-up sales via delivery and pick-up. She went on to be one of 60 people to win a grant from Black People Eats, she raised 100% of her goal through a community Kiva loan, and was awarded a Magic Johnson forgivable loans to minority owned businesses through Johnson's EquiTrust Life Insurance Company. She also was awarded a grant from the PA 30 Day Fund.  

While this year could have been devastating for McGill with all the events and festivals being erased from her books, McGill did as she always does and picked up, moved forward, put in the hard work and remained positive. That hard work and attitude paid off as she then made history as the first black female operator at Spruce Street Harbor Park. The buzz from the grand opening on the waterfront then led to a huge volume of increased business inquiries - including a call from Joe Movestine at Doylestown Brewing Company for her first beer release. A few weeks later, the second big connection to the beer world happened when she was connected to Yards and the rest is history as they say.