With the opening of Frios Gourmet Pops’ newest location in March, the Magic City’s frozen pop culture has become quite a popular market.
Frios marks the latest entry into Birmingham’s growing string of pop-up popsicle stands and sorbet creameries. Frios now inhabits the bustling Regions-Harbert Plaza, the downtown dining court.
“We expanded to explore other areas of the community,” said Michael Weidenbach, owner of Frios, about opening a location downtown. “We want to appeal to the professional lunch crowd at Regions-Harbert; however, we still feel that our treats have a very homemade feeling. We offer a kind of comfort food.”
Weidenbach expects for Frios to become a major frozen pop player in the Birmingham community. “We have a high flavor selection; our atmosphere is comfortable,” he said. “We have several mobile carts and a food truck. We want to begin catering for events, meetings, weddings and special deliveries.”
“We started in Gadsden; we believe in the product. It just seemed like a really good market, good climate to get into,” added Weidenbach.
Frios is not the only recently established frozen dessert venue. Urban Pops, a frozen delight and dessert stand in Hoover, opened in January of last year. “We are kind of like a mom-and-pop place,” said Kamy Adeli, owner of the modest outfit. “We have carts and concession stands. We go to different neighborhoods and farmers markets like Pepper Place. We do weddings and private parties. I know a lot of people in Hoover, so it was a good location to open.”
Urban Pops serves a variety of frozen sweets and specializes in treats from India and South Asia. “We serve Kulfi, flavored with seasonings such as cardamom and saffron. I got the recipe from a good friend of mine from India,” said Adeli. “We also have Rooh Afza from Pakistan and Akbar Mashdi, a Persian ice cream. We also do regular favorites like banana pudding, cookies and cream and strawberry cheesecake.”
Much like Urban Pops and Frios, the local truck and cart ice cream vendor Big Spoon Creamery began rather recently, in early 2015. “No one else was doing handcrafted ice cream and my wife and I were interested in opening one up,” said Ryan O’Hara, owner of Big Spoon. “We focus on local and seasonal ingredients and work with local vendors and farmers. We want to expand; we plan to launch a storefront in Avondale either late this year or early next year.”
“One of the farms we work with is Terra Preta Farm. Working with them helps make ice creams like fresh mint chip, which happens to be my favorite flavor right now. Though, my favorites usually change based on the season,” O’Hara added.
Birmingham residents now have a wide choice of flavors to choose from in their chilled treats — flavors that may very well keep the industry thriving in the Magic City.
“We offer flavors like caramel sea salt, banana pudding and fresh strawberries at Frios,” said Weidenbach. “We want to be seen as fresh, frozen, fun and very familiar.”