Updated on July 2, 2018 to add in a new store, Baldo's. It was updated again on July 12, 2018 to add in another store, Milky Treats.
One of the best things a Texan can eat on a hot summer day is a waffle cone stacked with ice cream. But there's no doubt that the frozen treat has changed into much more than just a scoop of Blue Bell.
Trendy shops are popping up all over D-FW to show us how they're straying from the traditional sugary scoop. Here are six new companies making ice cream even cooler.
Protip: Happily, you can get away with eating ice cream for breakfast, lunch or dinner. We won't tell.
If you want a surefire way to cool off, take a bite of snow -- Korean snow, that is. Korean bingsu, or "snow cream," is finely shaved ice mixed with milk or fruit flavors. The new BingBox store is now open in Trinity Groves.
BingBox, a play on the words "bingsu" and "bento box," is a build-your-own dessert. Franchisor Scott Lin believes it's more fun than a traditional ice cream or traditional bingsu shop.
"Traditional Korean shaved ice is milk-based with a few toppings," Lin says. "There are not a whole lot of choices for a flavor base, either."
BingBox offers a rotating menu of eight base snow cream flavors. Popular ones are Thai tea, honeydew and mango. Then, customers choose from over 30 toppings like fruit, granola or red beans.
BingBox also sells soft-serve ice cream, which Lin says is just as popular as the bingsu. It comes in flavors like vanilla, chocolate and peach, and they can be topped with the same toppings as the bingsu. It's light, creamy treat.
BingBox is open now; a grand opening party is scheduled for June 23. 320 Singleton Blvd., Dallas.
At Baldo's, the motto is to serve ice cream that is "anything but vanilla."
"I feel like we live in a world where vanilla is the default flavor," says Will Ammons, one of the founders of Baldo's. "Vanilla is bland and boring, and Baldo's is here to shake it up with new flavors."
The "scoop shop café," a hybrid shop that sells ice cream and coffee, has a rotating menu of 24 ice cream flavors. They're split into four categories: Vintage, Vitality, Cookie Dough and 'Why Not?'
Vintage has classic flavors, like chocolate and strawberry, while Vitality caters to customers who are vegan or lactose intolerant. Cookie Dough is edible cookie dough that comes in flavors like snickerdoodle and funfetti, and 'Why Not?' has experimental flavors that are crafted by Aldo Sandoval, former head pastry chef at Uchi and Uchiba.
The ice cream is served in cups and waffle cones, but for customers wanting to try a little bit of everything, there are also ice cream flights: six miniature ice cream cones with your choice of flavors. So if you want to try the Prickly Pear Jalapeno, Maple Bacon and Champagne Sorbet, making a decision won't be as hard.
Ammons, along with co-founders Tyler Kleinert and Schuyler Grey, are planning to open up their storefront near SMU, which happens to be the place all three met.
"The whole team has deep ties to SMU," Ammons says. "We wanted to create a gathering place near SMU because it didn't exist."
Baldo's is expected to open September 2018 at 6401 Hillcrest Ave., Dallas.
The Gelato Cone
"Children are some of the largest consumers of ice cream and gelato," says Selçuk Baykir as he translates for his business partner and chef Mustafa Efendiler. "I would only make something if I was comfortable with serving it to my children."
Efendiler moved to Texas from Turkey three years ago, and he's been making gelato for more than 30 years. He learned to make it using only fresh fruit and natural flavors, and that's all he plans on using as chef of The Gelato Cone.
There are two dozen flavors to choose from, including mango, pistachio, coconut, red berries, and bitter chocolate, to name a few. Whether it's in a cone or a cup, the gelato is made fresh every other day with no butter or syrup.
They also sell "super waffles," a thin and crispy waffle with a sweet spread, fruit and a scoop of gelato on top. Baykir says they hope to expand to five locations in North Texas in the next year.
945 W Stacy Road, Allen.
Traditionally known for its fudge and chocolate-covered treats, Kilwins is a well-liked franchise that’s established up north and along on the east coast, according to Plano store co-owner Mili Mabarak. The Kilwins at the Shops at Legacy is Texas' first, and customers are not only taking in the sweets and seaside decor, but the ice cream as well.
"The whole experience of going into the store is a veritable feast for the senses," says Eric Reynolds, a self-proclaimed 'ice cream enthusiast.' "I've had a better experience [at Kilwins] than at Braum's or Baskin Robbins."
The ice cream can only be bought at Kilwins stores, and it's made and shipped to all locations in the U.S., so the ice cream you eat in Plano should taste exactly the same as it would in the Northeast, says Mabarak. There are about two dozen flavors to choose from, including toasted coconut and vanilla salted caramel.
Customers can choose to put their ice cream in a cup, waffle bowl or a sugar or waffle cone, and they can top it with some chocolate or caramel sauce. If that's not enough to satisfy a sweet tooth, dessert lovers can also buy chocolate-covered treats or a caramel apple or two on their way out.
7161 Bishop Road, Plano. A new location is planned to open in at 5600 Nebraska Furniture Drive, The Colony. in Summer 2019.
Who says ice cream isn't a breakfast food? Milky Treats makes it happen with a sprinkle of cereal on its doughnut-ice cream sandwiches. With your choice of ice cream, cereal, and glazed or unglazed doughnut, you can create a treat that's all your own.
Milky Treats offers 15 homemade ice cream flavors. It has classics like vanilla and cookies and cream, but the Cookie Monster -- blue vanilla ice cream with Oreo and chocolate chip cookie bits -- is a customer favorite.
In addition to the "Milky Donut," the shop also offers the "Milky Swirl" and "Milky Cone": soft-serve ice cream with finely blended cereal in a cup or a cone. With every bite comes an unexpected crunch that you didn't know you needed in a soft-serve.
Co-owners Karmen Lau, Nico Nguyen and Trinity Nguyen say they discovered the ice cream-doughnut sandwich concept on the West Coast and the soft serve-plus-cereal concept on the East. They decided to merge the two and bring them to Plano to shake up the ice-cream scene in D-FW.
"Typical ice cream shops are cookie-cutter and the same all around," Lau says. "You can tell by our design and our flavors -- we're unique."
7000 Independence Parkway, Plano.
At Popbar, gelato isn’t just a type of ice cream, it’s the ice cream. Reuben BenJehuda, CEO of Popbar, grew up in Italy, where gelato is the norm for dessert. At this shop, he put the Italian treat on a stick.
There are two locations in D-FW right now, one in Richardson and one in Fort Worth, with a third location opening up in Victory Park in July. Bao Tran, franchise owner of the Fort Worth and soon-to-be Victory Park stores, says the gelato pops can be customized.
“Kids come in and they love it,” Tran says. “They love that they can put different toppings on it and make it their own.”
The popGelato, the original popsicle, comes in a variety of creamy flavors, like vanilla-salted caramel and hazelnut. For something fruity, there are also popSorbettos, which are sorbets in the form of popsicles. If you’re wondering how many forms of popsicles there can be, Popbar also sells popWiches -- vanilla gelato sandwiched between two chocolate biscuits -- and YogurtPops -- popsicles made of yogurt. All of them can be dipped or drizzled in chocolate or nuts, too.
Anyone who is vegan, gluten-free or lactose intolerant can find a Popbar treat that checks off one of these boxes.
746 S. Central Expressway, Richardson and 1621 River Run, Fort Worth. A third store is expected to open in July 2018 at 2420 Victory Park Lane, Dallas.
In Deep Ellum, a neighborhood stocked with music venues and bars, Twisted Treats owners Jeff Weiszbrod and Jonathan Urick felt there needed to be more choices. Not in life, but in desserts. So they came up Twisted Treats, a one-stop dessert shop.
Popular soft-serve menu items include Strawberry Fields (soft-serve topped with graham crackers, strawberries and cheesecake bites) and Love U 2 Reeces (peanut butter cups with peanut butter and chocolate sauce).
Twisted Treats also sells popsicles, which can be dipped into milk, dark or white chocolate, then decorated with toppings. However, one standout menu item isn't even ice cream -- it's cookie dough. Weiszbrod and Urick say they spent weeks perfecting the cookie dough base, which is both egg- and milk-free.
All of the desserts, including the cookie dough, can be customized with sauces, crumbles, fruits and candies.
2820 Elm St., Dallas.