It’s only the fourth week of classes, and the Houston heat still has me avoiding unshaded areas at all costs. Boy, was I wrong when I thought moving to America from Thailand would mean cooler, more temperate weather…

While Steel City Pops has been on my radar for a while, it was the dry heat of Dallas that drove me to finally give this gourmet popsicle joint a try. The first bite of that strawberry lemonade popsicle has been seared into my memory since: a perfect balance of sweet and sour and so, so wonderfully cold. When I got back to Houston, I found myself craving those popsicles — and you can imagine my excitement when I discovered that Rice Village had just opened its very own branch in June. Originally inspired by Mexican paletas, Steel City Pops began as a family business, opening its first brick-and-mortar storefront in Alabama. Though the franchise has since grown to over 23 locations across the southeast, their core values of serving colorful, healthy and locally-sourced products have not changed. 

So if you’re looking for a way to cool down in the sweltering heat and stifling humidity that doesn’t involve frigid AC settings or swimming, Steel City Pops may be your best bet. The variety of flavors means there’s something for everyone, from fruity and refreshing (cucumber lime, passionfruit, jasmine green tea) to indulgent and creamy (coconut, horchata, buttermilk). You can even customize your pop with dipping sauces, toppings and drizzles. If, like me, you’re hesitant to try new flavors, Steel City Pops will replace a pop you don’t like for free. Upon entering the store, you’re greeted by a glass case filled with their large selection of pops, a cute wall mural perfect for your next Instagram story and friendly servers who are happy to help with your inevitable indecision. Though there’s plenty of room for a long line, there’s not much seating inside the actual shop. It’s definitely more of a grab-and-go location, or in my case, grab-and-go-sit-on-the-steps-outside. While these icy treats are a little on the pricey side at around $4 a pop including tax, they are so deliciously refreshing that they’re hard to resist — not to mention, they take you right back to the blissful summer days of your childhood. So next time you’re in Rice Village for Saturday night dinner, hop on over to this cute popsicle place for a cool and refreshing dessert.