It’s a well known fact that Houston is hot. So, ice cream is not only a summertime essential, it’s pretty much necessary to living a cool Houston life year-round. Fortunately, there are a bunch of awesome craft creameries dotted around our sprawling metropolis. From local darlings using local ingredients and out-of-towners we surprisingly ain’t mad at to one game-changer selling its pints out in under a minute, we’ve got the double scoop on the city’s finest ice cream shops. Here’s where you’ll want to head to keep cool and get your ice cream fix in H-Town.
Heights (& Midtown & Upper Kirby & Katy)
We wonder if co-owner and pastry chef Chris Leung ever expected to have four scoop shops and pints stocked at Whole Foods when he first started this small-batch ice creamery back in 2013. Maybe he did, because his Banana Split convinced Balcor Hospitality director partner Christopher Balat to join the mission, and together the Houston natives have built a mini ice cream empire. Cloud 10 uses seriously fresh ingredients when crafting its sweet stuff (meaning no artificial flavours or additives here), so you can feel good about treating yo’self to scoops, cones, sundaes, and splits packed with flavours like Cafe Sua Da, Lemon Mint Sorbet, and PB&J. How to book: Visit a scoop shop, find ‘em in stores, or order a pint for shipping online.
Heights (& Garden Oaks/Oak Forest)
Local and extra special ingredients are the name of the very tasty game, here. They use pure Mexican vanilla for the signature Cat’s Meow, Independence Brewery’s Convict Hill Oatmeal Stout beer for the Milk Chocolate Stout, and local strawberries and Texas Gin for the Waterloo Strawberry Buttermilk. On top of that, you can add in things like Salted Almond Brittle and Marshmallow Sauce. Fans now have two locations at which to get their scoop on, off Shepherd in the Heights and in GOOF’s new Stomping Grounds development. How to book: Stop by for counter-service or order ahead via Square.
It hasn’t even been a handful of years since owner Josh DeLeon began making ice cream in his apartment, but today he owns and operates one of the most sought-after pop-ups in the city. Think of him like the Willy Wonka of ice cream, elusive, unconventional, and dreaming up whimsical flavours from Salted Bruleed Banana Ice Cream with Miso Caramel and Brownies to Salted Peppermint Oreo Ice Cream with Oreo Toffee Crunch. The cult favourite recently snagged a storefront with fellow sweets slinger Pudgy’s Fine Cookies, and that’s where you can pick up the pints (if you’re lucky). How to book: Keep a close watch on its IG account to find out when the next batch is dropping, have fast fingers during checkout, and pick up your goods at the window.
Custard fans should head straight on over to the new MKT mixed-use development. That’s where you’ll find Honeychild’s Sweet Creams, and its small batched, handmade frozen custards. The homegrown spot makes it a point to use local goods, from area favourites like Mill-King Creamery, Plant It Forward, and Atkinson Farms, among others. Go for the seriously good Buttermilk Pie, Cafe de Olla Coffee (made with Katz Coffee), or seasonal numbers like the summer favourite Peach Cobbler. How to book: Stop by for counter-service.
East End (& Hobby)
Telling someone you’re a stoner without telling someone you’re a stoner is as simple as digging into the loaded Waffle Sundaes and Hot Cheeto Pies at this family-owned ice cream slinger. Or maybe you just think the spicy chamoy and Kool-Aid pickle-flavoured Picoyada Raspas is super refreshing. Either way, this scoop shop’s worth a visit. How to book: Stop by for counter-service.
Chinatown (& Heights)
This outside-the-box ice cream shop hails all the way from Australia, which is probably not the first place you think about when you think about ice cream. One lick of these impossibly silky soft-serve flavour sensations and you’ll see why maybe it should be. Get its signature aqua blue Sea Salt twist in a cup or cone, or try our rotating flavours like Raspberry Mascarpone and Burnt Basque Cheesecake. How to book: Stop by for counter-service.
Mix-ins take your ice cream experience to a whole new level at this locally-owned and operated, super creamy sweet shop. Head to this charmer, set in an restored historic building off Westheimer, for imaginative flavours like the Recess, a sweet cream base with scratch made chocolate and peanut butter chunks, or the Heart of Glass, cream cheese ice cream hit with, you guessed it, Blondies. Don’t forget to take pics in front of the Instagram wall (or it didn’t happen). How to book: Stop by for counter-service or get delivery via UberEats.
Bourbon Espresso. Rum Bananas Foster. Blueberry Pie a la Mode. Those are just a few of the flavour bombs at this 19th Street sweet shop, which promises indulgent ice cream made with thick cream, fresh milk, and golden eggs. Stroll on in (because 19th Street’s fun to stroll down) to see what’s on the menu for that day, and top your scoops, housemade cones, and splits off with toppings and sauces from Baby Reese’s Cups and Rice Krispy Croutons to Frangelico Banana Caramel. Have something to celebrate? They make custom ice cream cakes, too. How to book: Stop by for counter-service.
One of the many reasons we know that Houston is awesome? Pastry chef Jordi Roca-who has been recognized as the “Best Pastry Chef of the World” by both The World’s 50 Best (2014) and by The Best Chef Awards (2019)-and wife-partner Alejandra Rivas picked it as the spot for their first gelateria in the United States. Here, Roca reimagines his award-winning desserts in soft ice cream form, from the Bonbon chocolate ice cream with chocolate sauce, cracked cacao, and toasted almond crisp to outlandish masterpieces like the Rocanose, a strawberries and rosewater popsicle made with a 3D mould in the shape of Jordi Roca’s nose. How to book: Stop by for counter-service.
Montrose (& Rice Village & Uptown Park)
It may not be local, but when NYC born yellow scoop truck turned brick-and-mortar first came to town, it collabed with Houston’s own Yellow Rose Distillery on a Rice Village-only Yellow Rose Bourbon Pecan Pie scoop. After winning over our big Texan hearts with its dairy and vegan ice creams in seasonal flavours from BIGFACE Coffee Affogato to Vegan Strawberry Sumac Sorbet, Van Leeuwen’s opened up locations over in the new Montrose Collective and the popular Uptown Park. How to book: Stop by for counter-service, get nationwide shipping, or score local delivery.
Yes, you want to get the ooey-gooey, fresh out-the-oven chocolate chip cookies from Tiny’s little bakery, but you also want to get its housemade ice cream (perhaps sandwiched in between two cookies?). The walk-up spot’s Milk & Cookies flavour is an obvious choice, with chunks of the chocolate chip goodness mixed right into a sweet vanilla, but the sweet cream Lemon Tart, fresh mint Mint Chocolate Chip, and Fresh Strawberry are worth consideration, too. Did we mention there’s affogato? Good luck trying to figure that order out. How to book: Stop by for to-go service.
Montrose (& Garden Oaks)
This Texas take on a real deal gelato shop has been blowing minds for a decade, when it opened its first store front over by the University of St. Thomas. Owner and gelato genius Jasmine Chida grew up in Texas, taking inspiration from her childhood and her travels to put out some truly dreamy treats. Go for Persian Cucumber-Mint Sorbet, Tiramisu Gelato, and a scoop of the silky-smooth, vegan-friendly Double Chocolate Sheet Cake. How to book: Stop by for counter-service or find the pints in stores.
Chinatown (& Pearland & Sugar Land)
The name of this Asian-owned ice cream shop signifies the good luck, good fortune, and the spirit of continuity, something you’ll likely feel after inhaling its next-level handcrafted ice creams and churros. Each of its shops rotate through 100+ flavours on the regular–Horchata, Lychee Strawberry, Thai Tea, and Sugar Mama. Get ‘em by the single, triple, or double scoop, grab a few ice cream filled macaron, or do the Frosty Churro thing (that’s soft serve with a churro drizzled with things like chocolate and cookie butter sauce plopped right on top). How to book: Stop by for counter-service or order delivery via Grubhub.
Heights (& CityCentre)
Another 19th Street standout made its way to Houston via Columbus, Ohio, bringing a buttery, super smooth mouthfeel, and nutty Buttercrisp Waffle Wedges along with it. It now has two local outposts, and you can hit either of ‘em to get flavours like the Brambleberry Crisp, laced with toasted oat streusel and a sweet-tart blackberry and blackcurrant jam; the supremely chocolatey Blackout Chocolate Cake; or the fan favourite Brown Butter Almond Brittle. How to book: Stop by for counter-service, order local delivery & pickup, or get nationwide shipping.
Brooke Viggiano is a Houston-based writer who wishes she had some damn ice cream right about now. Share the scoop on your favourites with her @brookeviggiano on Twitter and @brookiefafa on IG.
The cold weather in most parts of Australia coinciding with EOFY celebrations is the closest thing that we’ll get to snowy Christmas vibes. And if you’re in dire need of some festive cheer after the first six months of 2023, grab your ugly sweater and head to your nearest Red Rooster for Xmas in July deals.
From June 29 – July 31, 2023, Red Rooster is serving up free food items, a chance to win $10,000 or one of 10 merch packs valued at $400 and other fun prizes. All you have to do is sign up as a Red Royalty member and spend $5 on at a location near you or online.
Each week there’ll be new delicious deals and prizes to win. The week one deals have already dropped and they’re looking pretty tasty. You can get access to them via your Red Royalty account. The more you purchase, the more chances you have to win.
Spoiler alert: you can get 10 chicken nuggets for free, right now. Brb running to Red Rooster.