With an emphasis on staying local and natural, new Lakewood dessert spot Snowbaby serves only creamy shaved ice.
The restaurant, located in the Lakewood shopping center, is small, However, the area is clean and neat, with the artwork, from different local elementary schools, and chalkboard menu making the shop feel warm and inviting.
The owner, Chrissy Kuo, got the idea for Snowbaby while eating xue hua bing, a Taiwanese tradition of creamy shaved ice, with her husband. She realized that there wasn’t anything like it in Dallas. When she contacted suppliers, though, the only options they gave her were powders that are mixed and products with artificial ingredients.
“When you have children, you really realize how bad the majority of what we eat is for you,” Kuo said.
Because of this, Snow Baby sets itself apart from others by using only natural, non-artificial ingredients. Most of the options at this dessert stop are gluten-free, including the cookie crumbles and cake bite toppings sourced from Unrefined Bakery. They’re currently trying to develop a sugar-free flavor, inspired by the lack of options available to Kuo’s diabetic mother.
Once I got to the store, I tried one of the customized flavors, “Berry Chocolatey,” chocolate ice covered in fresh strawberries, sliced almonds, dark chocolate shavings and chocolate drizzle. The vanilla flavor is one of the best vanilla flavored desserts I’ve tried. Usually, vanilla is considered bland but at Snow Baby, real seeds from vanilla pods make the flavor pop.
In order to get its creamy texture and taste, the shaved ice sheets are drizzled with sweetened condensed milk, unlike other shaved ice.
You can even build your own—prices start at $4.50 and go up to $7.50, each additional sauce or topping costing $0.50 more. Each portion comes with one sauce and one topping of your choice. Premade options are priced from $7.25 to $8.50. The higher prices are easy to overlook when you think of the fairly generous serving sizes and the quality of the fresh ingredients.
The venue also has a focus on staying local and purchases coffee from White Rock Coffee. The Kuo family moved to the neighborhood in 2008 and have since raised their two children on a street filled with friends.
“Lakewood is an amazing neighborhood; everyone has been so supportive,” said Kuo.
Kuo had many mentors in her past careers. Knowing how helpful that was to her, she brought that idea to Snowbaby, too. She makes sure to ask her employees where they see themselves in the future and tries to help them get to that point. One employee wants to own a clothing brand eventually, while another wants to go into design.
“I think we all have a struggle when opening a new business, and I want to support others going through that,” Kuo said.
Kuo herself started out in corporate America, working at International Business Machines for 13 years before moving to a smaller battery company and then to an even smaller research company.
“I approach it very similar to how I approached things in my previous jobs but with a very personal touch. When you’re in a bigger company, I feel like your personality gets lost,” Kuo commented about how she brings her past experience to Snowbaby.
Story and photo by Niamh McKinney.