In 2013, I publicly bemoaned the lack of a good old-fashioned ice parlor in Houston. I was cheered to find that many H-town residents felt similarly but even more excited to learn that this lacuna would “soon” be filled by the wizards of Fat Cat Creamery. Their fabulous ice cream has long been one sale at various vendors around town and I was happy to learn about their plans to transition to a brick-and-mortar establishment.

After some pesky delays, the Fat Cats finally opened their old-school ice cream parlor in late fall of 2013. Although temperatures were dropping in Houston, my enthusiasm for trying some of their cold treats, especially their sundaes, remained. And even now in the midst of our Houston “winter,” I continue to make the trek to Fat Cat Creamery (sometimes braving icy roads, oh my!) for a frozen sugar fix.

Fat Cat Creamery initially made its mark on the Houston dessert scene with its decadent small-batch ice cream made from local ingredients. Some flavors are familiar but with a sophisticated, adult-friendly twist, such as Strawberry Buttermilk, laced with gin, or Milk Chocolate Stout, made from a range of dark beers from across Texas. These imaginative offerings, plus special rotating flavors (Figgy pudding! Pumpkin cheesecake! Milk & Cookies!) and specialty ice cream sandwiches and push-pops have long been available at local coffeehouses, cafes, and fine foods stores.

With the opening of the parlor in the heart of the Heights, the Fat Cats have expanded their line of confections to include sundaes and ice cream sodas. These offerings are not ‘exactly‘ the retro sweets I (and maybe others) were envisioning, but they’re nonetheless terrific. Barely-sippable-they’re-so-thick milkshakes in flavors regular and inventive (mascarpone) are creamy, rich, and refreshing. For better or for worse, they will make you crave a double cheeseburger, so you may have to get your shake to go and head to What-A-Burger.

Their “Every Day Is Like Sundae” options are inventive combinations of hard ice cream, syrups, and toppings, like the recent “Bar Snacks” (intermingled scoops of Milk Chocolate Stout and Mexican Vanilla plus crushed pretzels, house-made “magic shell,” chocolate cookie crumbs, real whipped cream, and cherries). Patrons can also design their own sundaes by selecting any one (or two) of the soft and hard ice creams on hand and requesting toppings.

The extra “u” in the Fat Cats’ “parlour” suggests more stuff in the line of Boston Coolers and Brown Cows with regards to sodas, but the Creamery instead seems to focus on non-cream types such as the Chinese 5 Spice. They’re a bit too frou-frou for what I expect out of a parlor, so I stick to the root beer floats if I want something sweet and bubbly.

The Fat Cat Creamery is not ‘my‘ ideal ice cream parlor (a sit-down joint with table service, waitresses in bubble-gum pink uniforms, soda jerks with bow ties, and ginormous sundaes dripping in fudge). However, it’s nonetheless enjoyable and a happy distraction while I wait for my dream ice cream palace.

Fat Cat Creamery
1901 N Shepherd Dr, Houston, TX 77008

Joanna O'Leary

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