This Ice Cream Shop Likes It Savory

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Craft Creamery sprang from a unique need: Steve Marques wanted to change the way he ate, and the chef—who has previously worked at spots like The Burger Guys and Max’s Wine Dive—and wife Kim Kaase started reconsidering their diet.

“We had decided we wanted to change the way we ate,” Marques says. “Not just what we take in, but if we’re gonna eat (this), we want to know: where did it come from, who made it, why did they make it, who grew it—all that sort of stuff.” That includes sweet stuff—the couple was unhappy with the ingredients that even super-premium ice cream contained.

So, Marques developed a base of ice cream containing only four ingredients while working at Burger Guys (later perfected during his time at Eunice). He sourced cream from Mill-King in Waco and eggs from free-range and organic producers. Experimentation took hold, and in late 2020 Marques opened Craft Creamery at 1338 Westheimer Rd., #B in Montrose, and the shop serves up some of Houston’s tastiest and most original ice cream flavors.

And what do we mean by original? Well, Marques’s traditional chef background informed him to introduce savory flavors to the ice cream experience instead of the traditional and oft overwhelmingly sweet tastes. We’re talking super non-traditional varieties, like pho, brisket, and jalapeño cornbread. And nothing is overwhelmingly sweet. For example, while jalapeño cornbread greets you with that sweet corn flavor, a mild hit of heat comes in quickly to tickle your tastebuds.

Basically, Marques wanted more than the traditional vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry, although he does dip into those waters with his own unique approach and high-quality ingredients: The strawberry ice cream is a strawberry balsamic, and the chocolate is made with Valrhona.

When we visited, we loved black raspberry chocolate chip, which is a nod to Graeter’s Ice Cream, an Ohio favorite that Kaase grew up with; a very Texas candied pecan; a refreshing honey lavender; jalapeño cornbread; and plenty more. Also look for pandan—with a plant-based, tropically nutty profile—and bastani—rosewater, saffron, and pistachio—unique flavors from Southeast Asia and Iran, respectively.

Marques loves Houston and incorporates the community in his own work by collaborating with favorite Bayou City restaurants and bars like State Fare Kitchen & Bar, Liberty Kitchen, and Anvil Bar & Refuge. He has also worked with 8th Wonder Distillery on a caramel sauce for his store. He won’t steer away from experimentation and won’t worry about making a mistake.

“Don’t make the flavors shy,” Marques says. And his flavors certainly aren’t. You cannot go wrong at Craft Creamery.

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