There are more than 100 different flavor combinations and a recipe book pending, with some popsicles offered seasonally and some daily at MemPops.
Chris Taylor, owner of MemPops, said what makes MemPops different is the way he prepares his frozen treats. He prides himself on having relationships with local farmers, using local ingredients and natural sweeteners.
“We don’t use anything frozen, everything is fresh. The only thing out of a can is coconut milk. We make our own sweeteners,” he said. “We roast all of our fruit. We cook everything here to extract the flavors. We could probably do it a lot quicker and cheaper, but that’s not what I wanted to do. I wanted to do a unique thing and put a lot of love into it.”
MemPops come as either a cream pop or a fruit pop. Fruit pops range in flavor from Strawberry, Watermelon Basil, and Raspberry Lemonade to Blackberry Lemon Rose, Avocado Lime, and Nectarine Agave.
The cream pops have some readily recognizable flavors like Fudge, Vanilla Bean, and Peaches and Cream, and venture into Blackberry Honey Yogurt, Blueberry Lemon Maple and Reverb Coffee Dulce De Leche.
“There are lot of variations you can do with a Popsicle, and no one is ever upset about a Popsicle,” Taylor said. “It’s fun, unique and you can be creative. It’s cool to bring in fresh fruit a few times a week and to know people that are growing your fruit.”
During the summer, Taylor said he sells about 500-600 popsicles in a day at his store and a little over 2,000 per event with his mobile shop. Though the summer months are the most popular, MemPops is open all year long.
Taylor does not have a culinary degree and has never been formally trained in the kitchen. Instead he is self-taught, having worked his way up from a waiter to a sous chef in various local restaurants and now owns MemPops.
A second MemPops store will be opening in August in the Crosstown Concourse.
Come to these chic ice cream joints to cool off,
stay for something new
Story by Erica Horton | Photos by Casey Hilder
Area 51 Ice Cream
Area 51 Ice Cream went from an idea to reality in 10 weeks. Co-Owners Karin and Steve Cubbage are the husband and wife duo running the three-year-old shop, which offers 12 flavors daily including a sorbet.
From cookies and cream to lemon ice-box, customers try some of what Karin Cubbage calls, “approachable,” flavors and some, “out-of-the-box flavors.”
One of their most popular is Cedar Hill Blackberry Goat Cheese. Cedar Hill is where the family gets their blackberries from and the flavor is a goat cheese ice cream with blackberry swirled in.
“The first summer that we did it, it was interesting to get people to try it and lot of people made a little face, but then it just took off,” Cubbage says. “Now there is not a day that goes by that someone doesn’t come in, even in the dead of winter, and ask, ‘do you guys have any blackberry goat cheese?’”
Customers come from all over the country to taste Cedar Hill Blackberry Goat Cheese, which has made national lists. However, the signature flavor is only available when blackberries are in season, which is June. Cubbage says they sold 200 gallons of the flavor this year.
An 18-year food industry veteran, Karin says the decision to open an ice-cream store in May 2014 was easy. Now she, her husband, and three of their five children make small-batch artisan ice creams using all fresh fruits and local ingredients.
Located at 117 W Commerce St in Hernando, Miss., Area 51 is open Tuesday through Thursday from noon to 9 p.m., Friday through Saturday from noon to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Cubbage says she has loved ice cream since she was a child and has memories of her father making it in the park.
“I wanted something where I would have a lot of control over the finished product, where the customer can taste it and make sure they love it first. I like that idea of people knowing what they’re getting before they have to choose,” she says. “I like that ice cream is a blank canvas because you can do anything you want with it. You start off with simple cream and milk and you go from there.”
She has almost 200 flavors now, including a book of flavor ideas that she has yet to create.
There are flavors like Saigon Cinnamon Snicker Doodle (it’s a cookie cloud in your mouth) and Bourbon Butter Pecan. The chocolate chips in the Mint Chocolate Chip is made with two different kinds of Dutch chocolate. Area 51 does gives light nods to space ships and some loyal customers hide aliens all over the shop for the owners to find.
There is a signature shake called the Roswell. Named after the alleged crash of a UFO on a ranch in Roswell, New Mexico in the 1940s, the Roswell is a scoop of lemon ice-box ice cream made by steeping lemon zest in cream and milk overnight. The mixture is strained the next day and the Cubbages squeeze the lemons and make a syrup out of the fresh lemon juice so that it’s, “real light and airy.” It’s then mixed with Orange Crush and grenadine.
A second location for Area 51 is under construction at Crosstown Concourse in Memphis, Tenn. and will be open in August.