Fat Cat Creamery—which once only made its ice cream available in pints at retail locations—recently opened a parlor of their very own in the Heights. The Cats are still keeping all things local at the new shop, from the ingredients supplied by local farmers and producers to the feel of the ice cream parlor itself: as if Houston was just a small town.
Fat Cat Creamery
1901 N. Shepherd Dr.
On a Monday evening, families, couples, and singles drifted in and out of the small parlor in waves, the walls above them sporting painted cats and kittens in keeping with the Fat Cat theme. There are so many cat paintings, pictures, and figurines—some discreetly hidden—you're almost tempted to count the cats while you wait. The biggest cat of them all is chubby mint green feline with a slight smirk, sitting on the parlor’s left wall and threatening to hug (or swallow) patrons in line.
The creamery is fashioned in Fat Cat's colors of pale green and red, save for a massive black chalkboard on one whole wall with the menu neatly etched across its face. Light streams through a wall-to-wall window in the front. In all, the scenery is friendly, neighborly, fresh but familiar.
Next to the ice cream selections are other classic options such as bon-bons, push-up pops, sodas made with homemade syrups, and soft-serve.
Ten ice cream flavors are typically offered, including at least one vegan and dairy-free option. The flavors rotate but the Fat Cat standards of Cat's Meow Mexican Vanilla, Milk Chocolate Stout, and Strawberry Buttermilk stay on year-round.
The menu offers quite a few ways to experience Fat Cat's homemade ice cream—sundae, float, malt, shake—but my suggestion is the brown sugar waffle cone. About the length of a water bottle, it can fit layers of scoops without a mess, is sweet and sturdy yet light and crisp, somehow never becomes soggy, and protects the forearm from potential tastiness escaping.
I asked for a scoop of their beloved Cat’s Meow Mexican Vanilla and a scoop of Salty Butter Caramel. The gentleman at the counter said putting the vanilla at the bottom saves from a mess and he was right. The caramel began to melt more quickly during the course of my half-hour stay. The vanilla absorbed the caramel as they oozed downward slowly, but not as slowly as I was eating it. The generous scoops made for a pleasant combination, the vanilla firm and frosty and the caramel incredibly creamy and rich with a charming brown hue. The color and flavor are completely a result of the ingredients—not artificial coloring. As the gentleman behind the counter reminded me: all the ice cream is made primarily from whole milk, heavy cream, sugar, and egg yolk, and absent of preservatives and any other additives.
Fat Cat Creamery is a place where one can venture alone or in a group, lounge on the spacious deck, and enjoy plum servings of simple, sweet ice cream. Fat Cat is open from Sundays through Wednesdays 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Fridays through Saturdays 11 a.m. until midnight.