In the past few years, an ice cream and popsicle renaissance has swept the Magic City. Chilled dessert artisans have elevated simple summer treats by giving ice cream the farm-to-table treatment, infusing sorbets and ices with haute cuisine creativity and invigorating popsicles with the exciting spices of other cultures. Let’s check out Birmingham’s favorite ice cream parlors and popsicle stands!
16 Birmingham Spots for a Sweet Frozen Treat
HOMEMADE ICE CREAMS, SORBETS & ICES
4000 Third Ave. S., Birmingham, AL 35222 • (205) 703-4712
Hours: Sunday through Thursday, noon to 9 p.m.; Friday through Saturday, noon to 10 p.m.
Mae’s Food Hall, 110 1st Ave. NE, Cullman, AL 35055
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Big Spoon Creamery is an artisanal ice cream company that makes small-batch, handcrafted ice cream and ice cream sandwiches that started selling from their charming old-school “ice-cream trike,” which can be spotted at farmers markets, festivals and sidewalks throughout Birmingham. They now have a cool brick-and-mortar spot in Avondale, as well as in Cullman. The brilliant minds behind Big Spoon use the highest quality ingredients available, highlighting local and seasonal ingredients as much as possible. Case in point: Big Spoon Creamery’s all-time most popular flavor is honeysuckle blackberry, which is only available for a brief burst in the spring when fresh honeysuckle blooms.
3238 Cahaba Heights Road, Vestavia Hills, AL 35243 • (205) 527-1022
Hours: 7 days a week, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Owner Paul Champion was looking for a way to put his three children through college when his son Scott suggested that his dad introduce his beloved Italian ices to Alabamians in the hot summer months. And Doodle’s Homemade Sorbets and Ices was born! Doodle’s makes more than 150 flavors of homemade sorbets, Italian water ices and sugar-free ices, all recipes created by Paul’s wife, Sandy. The shop keeps 60 to 70 flavors available at its Cahaba Heights location, but it also has an old-fashioned trolley car that it uses for catering parties and other events.
Husband and wife, Ben and Wendy, have always loved making sweet treats for their friends and family. They even served their homemade cookies at their wedding in 2014. Ben and Wendy started their ice cream food truck business in 2016 serving throughout the city of Birmingham. Their friends decided that the business should be a combination of their names, so “Bendy’s” it was. Bendy’s offers made-from-scratch cookies as well as ice cream. Many customers choose to make an ice cream sandwich out of their favorite ice cream paired with a delicious made-from-scratch cookie. You can find the Bendy’s food truck by checking their website or social handles for their schedule! Bendy’s is one-of-a-kind, and you do not want to miss their famous ice cream sandwiches.
2908 18th St. S., Birmingham, AL 35209 • (205) 407-4500
Hours: Monday, noon to 5 p.m.; Tuesday through Thursday, noon to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, noon to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.
If you’re looking to try out the new trend of hand-rolled ice cream, look no further than Lucky Cat! Their hand-rolled ice cream is made by pouring a creamy mixture on a cold sub-zero steel pan, mixing in toppings, then rolling the ice cream into a perfect rolled treat. Not only is the rolled ice cream super fun to watch while it’s being made, it’s also delicious! You should definitely visit Lucky Cat if you want a cool experience mixed with a delightful ice cream indulgence.
Ono Ice is a Hawaiian “shave ice” pop-up stand. Owner Rebecca Davis loved shave ice as a girl and wanted to see if it would be just as delicious using all-natural ingredients. So, she created syrups from scratch using all-natural ingredients like fresh fruit, dairy products, herbs and spices. She also uses a hand-crank block ice shaver that produces a very fine-textured ice, which absorbs and holds the syrup for maximum flavor in every bite.
Inside the Pizitz Food Hall, 1821 Second Ave. N., Birmingham, AL 35203
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Eloy Garcia, a native of Southern Mexico, is the man behind the famous Lichita’s that is located at the Pizitz Food Hall. He opened his first popsicle shop in Nashville, TN, naming it after his daughter Lichita. His daughter is now 19 years old, and his son, Eloy Jr., took over his shop in Nashville when Eloy moved to Birmingham to open the second location of Lichita’s in Homewood. The authentic Mexican popsicles and ice cream are unique and refreshing — you do not want to miss out!
715 Oak Grove Road, Homewood, AL 32509 • (205) 907-2125
Hours: Monday through Friday, 2:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, noon to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 2:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
David and Wani realized their favorite treat, Italian ice and gelato, was nowhere to be found in Birmingham when they moved here in 2010. It wasn’t long after that that they opened Magic City Sweet Ice in 2014 to share their love of Italian ice and gelato. This family-owned business strives to make all customers happy. Now, they serve even more than just Italian ice and gelato, creating frozen custards, handcrafted sodas, house-baked pastries and more each day. David and Wani still have two pushcarts that they take to events around Birmingham. Find their pushcarts or visit their brick and mortar shop in Homewood today!
If you’re on the go and craving a New Orleans style sno-ball, your answer is the NOLA Ice food truck! Kelli Caulfield, the founder of the NOLA Ice food truck, knew she had to bring the New Orleans style sno-ball to Birmingham. This sno-ball’s shaved ice is so fine and soft that it feels like snow. With 44 different flavors, it can be hard to choose just one to satisfy your sweet tooth. Kelli wants everyone to treat her food truck like the classic ice cream truck that children run to in the summertime. The NOLA Ice food truck runs throughout October, so you have plenty of time to find them!
THE ARTISANAL POPSICLE
2821 Central Ave., Ste. 109, Homewood, AL 35209 • (205) 803-6502
329 Summit Blvd., Birmingham, AL 35243 • (205) 506-2898
5449 Hwy. 280, Inverness, AL 35242 • (205) 506-2828
Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
For pop-up locations, follow Steel City Pops on Instagram at @steelcitypops or on the Steel City Pops Facebook page.
Steel City Pops took the city by storm in May 2012 with their gourmet popsicles, featuring only organic and locally sourced ingredients when possible. The smooth buttermilk popsicle’s complex notes of vanilla and cheesecake are so delicious, you’ll have a hard time ever trying another Steel City Pops flavor. Whether you prefer their dairy-based pops or their nondairy, vegan-friendly fruit pops, Steel City Pops mixes good old-fashioned ingredients with culinary creativity for their unforgettable treats.
2760 John Hawkins Pkwy., Ste. 100, Hoover, AL 35244 • (205) 518-0270
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 9 p.m.
For pop-up locations, follow Urban Pops on Instagram at @urbanpopsbham or on the Urban Pops Facebook page.
Hoover-based Urban Pops is the only popsicle joint in Birmingham that features the unique flavors of India and South Asia. In addition to traditional American flavors, such as their popular watermelon and cookies ‘n’ cream, the adventurous epicure can enjoy Kulfi, a denser and creamier ice cream from South Asia with notes of mango, cardamom or saffron; Rooh Afza, a syrup from Pakistan and India made of fruits and herbs, such as the rose, that have cooling properties; and Akbar Mashdi, a Persian saffron ice cream with hints of rose and pistachios. Enjoy your old favorite or branch out and discover the flavors of an exciting culture at Urban Pops!
Regions Plaza, 1901 6th Ave. N., Ste. 265, Birmingham, AL 35203 • (205) 913-3808
Hours vary but are generally Monday through Friday, noon to 2 p.m.
For pop-up locations, follow Frios Gourmet Pops on Instagram at @friosbirmingham or on the Frios Gourmet Pops Facebook page.
What began with an Alabamian entrepreneur with a single cart on Broad Street in Gadsden has grown into a booming popsicle business with storefronts across Alabama and in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas. Their popsicle chef, a.k.a. “Fruit Ninja Kitchen Master,” crafts innovative recipes made with locally grown, all-natural ingredients. Frios’ mobile carts can be found around Birmingham and are available for festivals and other events.
3730 Lorna Road, Hoover, AL 35216 • (205) 637-7002
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
La Sabrosita loosely translates to “little delicious one,” and this sweet spot in the heart of Hoover is definitely delicious. Their homemade paletas, or popsicles, include spicy mango, pignoli or pine nuts, tamarind, avocado and cucumber, as well as more traditional flavors. They also have ice cream, creative sundaes and dessert specialties, such as one intimidating dessert called El Diabalito or “the little devil.” They also offer savory snacks, such as one called Crazy Doritos that involves a bag of spicy Doritos cut open like a pouch and treated like nachos. If you can’t make it to Cabo this summer but are still craving the unique flavors of Mexico, stop by this one-of-a-kind eatery!
2715 Cahaba Road, Mountain Brook, AL 35222 • (205) 870-0092
Hours: 7 days a week, 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
This old-fashioned ice cream shop has been a favorite for decades. Legions of locals have childhood memories of peering into the ice cream cases as youngsters. The shop has 300 flavors to choose from, and 44 on hand on any given day. The ice cream cakes are also very popular. Grab a cone with your favorite flavor, and stroll around picturesque Mountain Brook Village for a tasty window-shopping excursion!
3421 South Shades Crest Road, Hoover, AL 35244 • (205) 444-8000
Summer hours: Monday through Saturday, noon to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m. to 10 p.m.
This mom-and-pop shop has an inviting, local, family-friendly vibe with pictures of Hoover teams and families as well as customer-decorated wooden ice cream spoons covering the walls. Footstools allow little ones to peer into the cases and pick their favorite flavor. The shop scoops up ice cream cones and sundaes, mixes milkshakes and malts and makes ice cream cakes, as well as espresso and cappuccino beverages, made with freshly ground espresso beans. There is a pick-me-up for everyone at The Whole Scoop!
815 Shades Crest Road, Birmingham, AL 35226 • (205) 423-5055
Hours: Monday through Thursday, noon to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, noon to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The owner of Bluff Park Ice Cream Shoppe was nearing retirement when the idea of creating a business with his daughter came to mind. Alex Hare and her father have had the business since 2016, but it was only three months in when they were voted the #1 Best Ice Cream Place in Birmingham. The gourmet, super-premium ice cream is shipped in from The Chocolate Shoppe in Madison, WI. The Chocolate Shoppe delivers less air and more cream, which creates the perfect balance for an uber-rich ice cream treat! They offer unique flavors at the end of every season.
932 Oxmoor Road, Homewood, AL 35209 • (205) 874-1999
Hours: 7 days a week, 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Edgewood Creamery is Homewood’s go-to spot for sweet scoops! Its modern-industrial interiors are sleek, yet inviting and the perfect place to visit over a milkshake, sundae, frozen yogurt or a simple scoop. They also make ice cream cakes and cater for special events. Whether it’s sundaes for the office or scoops for a big school kick-off, Edgewood Creamery can deliver the goods, pre-scooped or dished up on-site!
So when you’re feeling hot and drained, treat your inner kid — or your actual kids — to a sweet treat at your favorite local ice cream or popsicle spot in town!
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