Now that summer is officially underway — and New Orleans has already had a record number of excessive heat warnings — it’s important to know all your options for icy treats. Beyond the city’s go-to spots for sno-balls and ice cream, there are a number of fresh frozen desserts to enjoy in the area, including Italian ice in Fairgrounds, popsicles in Bywater, and an ice cream pint dropper in Harahan. Here’s where to find four of New Orleans’s latest frozen treats to keep cool with this summer.
Sunset Slush New Orleans
What: Italian ice shop
Where: 1832 Gentilly Boulevard, Fairgrounds
Sunset Slush is New Orleans’s only shop dedicated to Italian ice — a bold move in the land of sno-balls. But if you’ve ever sucked your sno-ball dry and been left with bland, flavorless ice, or found them just a bit too sweet, Trevail Thomas has the treat for you. Thomas opened Sunset Slush at its current location in 2021 (it was previously located in Old Metairie, first opened by Thomas’s friend as an independent operator of the original in Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina). Thomas fell in love with the consistency and softness of Italian ice, finding it flavorful but not overly sweet or sugared — she says it’s like if ice cream and sno-balls had a baby. It’s non-dairy (and vegan, and gluten-free), but comes in soft scoops like ice cream.
Sunset Slush offers 31 flavors (not including the sugar-free options), all of which can be combined, or “swirled,” making for infinite flavor combinations. Thomas’s favorite is the piña colada, and says her top-seller is the Sunset NOLA, a strawberry-mango combo. Other local favorites include the strawberry shortcake and wedding cake, a combo of almond and cupcake. There’s the option to top your ice with sweet or sour gummy candy; caramel or chocolate syrups, and of course, condensed milk. Sunset Slush is open Wednesday through Sunday, 1 to 7 p.m. on Gentilly Boulevard, and a mobile store is available to hire by schools, summer camps, and for private events.
Big O’s Original Pops
What: Popsicle shop
Where: 3300 Royal Street, Bywater
For a few years now, Big O’s has sold fresh fruit (think watermelon lemonade, spicy pineapple, and strawberry mango) and creamy (key lime pie, cheesecake, and cookies and cream) popsicles from a colorful mobile cart in Markey Park in New Orleans’s Bywater neighborhood. Now it has its own shop, connected to Beanlandia, the Krewe of Red Beans’ headquarters and cultural center. The ever-changing popsicle flavors are ultra-refreshing, with fresh fruit flavors that offer a light, not-too-sweet alternative to sno-balls while the creamy flavors make for a satisfying, full-blown dessert.
Big O’s is open Tuesday through Sunday, beginning at 3 or 4 p.m. during the week and usually earlier on Saturday and Sunday (around 11 a.m.), but the shop often updates its Instagram page with the week’s hours, so check that before heading over.
Super Witch Ice Cream Co.
What: Ice cream pint dropper
Where: 5640 Jefferson Highway, Harahan
Briggs Barrios has a hit on his hands with Super Witch Ice Cream, his direct-to-consumer, e-commerce ice cream pint business based in Harahan. After years of reviewing grocery store ice cream for his Instagram page called the Cold Hard Scoop, Barrios decided to get into the ice cream-making business himself, first by selling out of his house and now with his own commercial kitchen that he moved into in June. Barrios has created flavors like a croissant-infused ice cream with powdered sugar-tossed croissant French toast chunks; a roasted pistachio ice cream speckled with crispy Callebaut chocolate shards; and a sweet corn ice cream with blueberry swirls and masa shortbread crumble. The hand-packed pints use ingredients made from scratch (with the exception of an inclusion like Oreos, for example), and Barrios says he strives to create more of a “dessert experience” than you might get with your typical ice cream by ensuring a high volume of mix-ins — there’s no lack of promised chunks or swirls in these pints.
Flavor drops occur weekly with new menus every week, and flavors may or may not return, Barrios says, so grab ‘em while you can. Ordering is through the website, and customers can sign up for notifications to receive text messages five minutes before flavors go live. Barrios offers customers three different pickup times throughout each weekend, and asks that folks bring a cooler to collect their pints. Be sure to act fast — they sell out quickly.
Nectar + Ice
What: Dessert and sno-ball shop
Where: 3304 Green Acres Rd Unit B, Metairie
All the way out by Zuppardo’s is this gem of a family-run shop, just shy of a year old. Founder Shyanna Batres, a Muslim woman, says it’s her mission to provide sweet treats to the greater New Orleans area for vegans, halal diners, and those with allergies, and as such, makes all of the shop’s sno-ball bases in-house, offering vegan condensed milk as a substitute for the classic sno-ball topping. A huge range of 50 sno-balls flavors include chocolate cream, Creole cream cheese, Tiger’s Blood, passionfruit, Tutti-Frutti, kiwi, and more, but there are also a few signature flavors, like white chocolate pecan: white chocolate macadamia stuffed with cheesecake and topped with sesame pecans. More unexpected offerings include mochi-stuffed sno-balls and horchata soft serve, as well as a range of delicious dessert coffees like the Royal Rose, iced coffee made with rose syrup and white chocolate and topped with Halawa nuts and espresso. The cherry on top? All these sweet treats are finished with a colorful edible flower placed on top.
Nectar + Ice is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., closed Monday.