Coast Cuisine - August/Sept 2018
- story by Lisa Monti
We all agree that an icy flavored treat can work magic, especially when summer reaches the searing stage.
How lucky are we local popsicle fans since a trio of Coast entrepreneurs - a brother and sister and her husband - elevated the humble treat on a stick to fancy new heights.
Think fresh tropical fruits (papaya, dragon fruit and mango) and flavorful seasonings (chili lime or lavender) in delicious combinations and you’ll start to understand why Pop Brothers popsicles are considered to be the artisan class.
Owners Shannon and Octavia Arzola and Chuck Kelly did some early market research on a Second Saturday a few years ago, selling their natural, handmade popsicles out of a small cart. The enthusiastic response got the Pop Brothers ball rolling, first with a store opening in Gulfport, then a second in Ocean Springs.
Pop Brothers products also are sold at other outlets including Lazy Magnolia, Margaritaville, Hard Rock and Scarlet Pearl casinos and Gulf Islands Water Park and at catered events and festivals from carts like the one that got it all started.
Shannon said the team is thrilled with the Bay St. Louis store. “It took us over a year to find a spot but we’re so happy to be here,” she said.
And customers, including a good number of tourists, are happy that Pops Brothers is here too.
The shop has communal bench seating and big windows so customers can watch the flow of traffic on Main Street while they enjoy their selection.
On Second Saturday in June, when the monthly art walk and Frida Fest converged, the Main Street store sold a whooping 400 popsicles, the most daily sales yet for the location.
Pop Brothers makes 50 varieties, all created by Octavia, an experienced chef with big-name credentials from his restaurant days in Chicago. He comes up with the flavors, using his creative culinary skills to combine fresh fruits and herbs and spices.
About half the menu flavors are available all year; the rest depends on what fruit is available and that’s dictated by seasons and weather. “We’re at the mercy of Mother Nature,” Shannon said.
So what are customers craving this steamy summer? “The top three are Oreo cheesecake, berries and cream, the mango and strawberry lemonade and the Barq’s Root Beer float. It’s fantastic. It even tastes bubbly,” Shannon said.
To keep up with demand, Pop Brothers makes 2,000 to 3,000 a day by hand. “That’s the key to why they taste so good,” Shannon said. “Once it’s automated you loose something."
The pops come in three categories: fruit, cream and indulgent. For the really indulgent, you can get yours dipped in dark chocolate, white chocolate or both.
Pop Brothers also has created two Pooch Pops that are extremely popular with spoiled dogs and their owners. “We sell tons of them,” Shannon said. One is made with chicken broth, fresh green beans and other good stuff for breath and coat. The other is made with peanut butter, cheese and bacon. My dog lapped his up.
111 Main Street
Bay St. Louis
Monday-Thursday 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Friday-Saturday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Sunday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.