Given South Texas' surfeit of balmy days, a store selling customizable artisan frozen pops seemed like a good idea. Still, barely two years after debuting in Southtown, the Alabama-based chain Steel City Pops is putting the freeze on both of its San Antonio locations.
In a November 1 release, the chain announced the closing of its two San Antonio shops, as well as seven additional stores across Texas, a brick-and-mortar in Atlanta, and a food truck in owner Jim Watkins' hometown of Birmingham. The concept said that scaling back was necessary in order to maintain a “healthy, growing business.”
Steel City first entered the Alamo City market in June 2017 with a location at 812 S. Alamo St. A year later, it followed up with a Northwest Side outpost at 17619 La Cantera Pkwy.
In 2018, the company majorly expanded in Texas with locations popping up in Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and Waco. As of the November 1 closures, only five stores remain operating in the state, all in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
The locations served a menu of gourmet, paleta-style popsicles in flavors like chocolate, peach cream, horchata, cucumber lime, and cantaloupe. Steel City also allowed patrons to customize the treats with by dipping, drizzling, and dredging the pops in a variety of sauces and toppings.
Unlike similar ice cream chains, Steel City differentiated itself by working with local vendors and farmers. Instead of a company wide menu, it developed pops specific to the regions it served.
Future plans, however, may bring Steel City back on the San Antonio scene. Although the company did not gave full details, it said that it is actively pursuing alternatives to the brick-and-mortar model, including vending machines and wholesale opportunities.