6 North Texas ice cream spots with creamy, creative treats
The Texas heat has officially arrived. For those brave enough to step outside, a scoop of soft serve ice cream may be the perfect treat. Luckily, the D-FW area has several unique soft serve shops with a variety of unconventional flavors — like raspberry cola, ube and lychee melon lemongrass — and one-of-a-kind toppings — like cotton candy clouds, funfetti cake chunks and dewberry compote. Here are six shops to get soft serve with a twist this summer.
Sugar Pine Creamery
Sugar Pine Creamery is run by Lilis Pramasurja and her husband, Wan Wong. The Indonesian couple opened their shop in 2019, and since then they’ve started seeing more regulars, especially families with small children, Pramasurja says.
“We have a lot of kids that came when they were babies,” she says. “They’re so excited. They go, ‘Ice cream!’ But it’s not just the ice cream, it’s the sampling and everything. It’s almost like they’re visiting Grandma.”
Aside from the shop’s “family vibes,” it’s also known for unique soft serve ice cream flavors that are different from the standard chocolate and vanilla. Pramasurja says that she and her husband have traveled a lot, which motivated them to create a soft serve shop with bold and unusual flavors. One of the current flavors, hojicha, is a Japanese green tea with a nutty taste.
The Sugar Pine Creamery menu changes every couple of weeks, and flavors only appear on the menu once or twice in a year. There are always a couple of non-dairy options, like balsamic peach and lychee melon lemongrass. Besides soft serve, the menu also includes milk tea and flavored ice tea with or without boba, in the same flavors year-round.
6832 Coit Road, Suite 270B, Plano. sugarpinecreamery.com.
Pure Milk and Honey
Pure Milk and Honey on Mockingbird Lane uses raw honey from Bonton Farms, a local farm with a farmers market, café and coffee house, all focused on community-building. The soft serve shop also uses organic whole milk from Texas farmers.
“We try to keep everything as natural as possible for the health-conscious clientele that we have,” says president and CEO Cindy Chung. “I try to stay away from anything with preservatives, and keep things as natural as possible.”
Some of the flavors at Pure Milk and Honey this summer include honey lavender and raspberry, which is vegan-friendly. Customers can also enjoy the shop’s signature honey, chocolate and hazelnut soft serve.
Chung says people love the shakes and sundaes in the summer. Sundaes come in flavors like “chocolate explosion,” cookies and cream, strawberry cheesecake and more. The menu also includes yuzu, blueberry and cherry iced teas, as well as chai. There are also a couple of ice cream sandwich specials.
On July 1, Pure Milk and Honey will launch ice cream tacos, starting with a strawberry chocolate truffle taco made with chocolate ice cream in a waffle taco shell topped with a homemade strawberry chocolate truffle, dark chocolate chunks, white chocolate chunks and strawberries. The final touch is a drizzle of strawberry jam and fudge sauce. The specialty taco will be available for the entire month of July in a dairy option or a limited non-dairy option.
5321 E. Mockingbird Lane, Unit 135, Dallas. puremilkandhoney.com.
SomiSomi Soft Serve & Taiyaki
SomiSomi, which was featured as one of our five must-visit Asian dessert spots at Frisco Ranch, was founded in Los Angeles in 2016, and has since become a national craze. There are now multiple locations in California, Nevada, Hawaii and Texas, with the closest being the Frisco and Carrollton locations.
SomiSomi is famous for its Ah-Boong, a Korean dessert consisting of a goldfish-shaped waffle cone stuffed with a sweet filling and soft serve ice cream on top. There is also the signature Taiyaki, a fish-shaped cake filled with either Nutella, red bean, custard or taro.
“Taiyaki is originally from Japan,” says Penny Wang, franchisee and manager of Frisco’s SomiSomi. “It’s a very popular food, and the tai actually is a type of fish, a breed of fish that is important to Japanese people, and they make it into a pastry.”
As for the soft serve, some of SomiSomi’s most popular flavors include Oreo, ube, milk and matcha. Customers can also choose two flavors to swirl to create a new creation. Miniature macarons, rainbow sprinkles, Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles, as well as Oreo cookie crumbles are all fan favorites when it comes to toppings.
9292 Warren Parkway #260, Frisco; 2540 Old Denton Road, #126, Carrollton. somisomi.com.
This Aussie brand started in 2015 and has already gone international. Aqua S features Instagrammable decor in bright pastels and features over-the-top toppings, like giant toasted marshmallows, caramel popcorn and famous fairy floss — a giant hand-spun cloud of cotton candy. The shop is also well-known for its blue sea salt soft serve, which is available all year long.
There are over a hundred flavors at Aqua S, and the menu offerings change every two weeks. Currently, the U.S. locations feature raspberry cola and cereal milk soft serve, both of which can be paired in a swirl with the classic sea salt.
Minh Nguyen, the Aqua S Dallas store owner, says that it was a challenge opening last year.
“We kind of had to change our business model a little bit since everything was shut down,” Nguyen says. “But in order to keep all the employees employed and then to make rent and everything, we did curbside pickup, and then we also did free delivery at that time of our mini tubs.”
Aqua S sells mini tubs and pints of some of their most popular flavors, such as sea salt, dairy-free lychee, oolong milk tea, cookies and cream, and durian, which is a fruit popular in parts of Asia with a notoriously controversial smell. Although the free delivery of the soft serve tubs has discontinued, the mini tubs and pints are still available for delivery orders online.
2375 Victory Park Lane, Suite 140, Dallas. aquas.us.com.
Dude, Sweet Chocolate
Dude, Sweet Chocolate also had a challenging year due to the pandemic, and had to close its downtown Dallas location permanently. However, the Bishop Arts District location in North Oak Cliff remains open and continues to serve up fun chocolate treats and ice cream.
Like some of the other D-FW soft serve ice cream shops, Dude, Sweet Chocolate changes its ice cream flavors often, and each one is unique. One of owner Katherine Clapner’s latest creations is a lemon-sassafras soft serve with fresh-baked vanilla bean scone crumble and dewberry compote. Customers can check Instagram and Facebook to see Clapner’s current flavors.
“I do all sorts of flavors,” Clapner says. “Sometimes I’ll do chocolate, sometimes I’ll do fruit, you know, there’s always something crunchy. Sometimes I’ll do cones, sometimes it’ll have brownies in between.”
Besides soft serve, Dude, Sweet Chocolate also offers coffee pour overs and floats. Of course, chocolate is the specialty. The sweets shop has all kinds of chocolate bars, drinks, truffles, fudges and its signature quirky items like chocolate skulls. Clapner doesn’t use any processed sugar, and instead opts for Steen’s cane syrup, agave, barley or cane sugar.
408 W. Eighth Street, #102, Dallas. dudesweetchocolate.net.
Cow Tipping Creamery
Cow Tipping Creamery was acquired in 2017 by Jay Jerrier, who is known for pizzerias like Cane Rosso and Zoli’s Pizza. The ice cream shop has locations in Fort Worth and Frisco, which has a slightly more extensive menu than the Fort Worth location.
Cow Tipping Creamery is all about stackers, which are “like sundaes only better,” according to their menu. Each stacker includes a soft serve flavor of the customer’s choice plus some special toppings, depending on which stacker they choose.
Jerrier says his absolute favorite is not on the menu every day, but it’s the cookie butter stacker, which is a Trader Joe’s cookie butter-flavored ice cream with cookie butter sauce, cookie butter bar chunks and hot fudge.
Right now both locations’ menus feature the Brownie and Cookie D’oh stacker, which includes a soft serve flavor of the customer’s choosing, triple fudge brownie chunks, chocolate chip cookie dough, cocoa cookie crumb and brown sugar hot fudge.
Jerrier’s advice for community members looking to eat out this summer is to stay local.
“I think 2020 really highlighted that if you want your favorite restaurants to stick around, you’ve got to support them,” Jerrier says. “You can’t just take these places for granted.”
3685 The Star Blvd., Suite 201, Frisco; 3501 Hulen St., Fort Worth. cowtippingcreamery.com.