Las Paletas, Nashville
Owned by two sisters, Irma and Norma Paz, the tiny storefront packs its freezers with two varieties of creative pops: creamy and fruity. Daily offerings cover a floor-to-ceiling blackboard, which also acts as a backdrop for occasional popsicle art. Alongside blueberry lime and creamy banana nut, unconventional flavors range from olive to creamed corn. All can be dipped in chocolate.
Meltdown, New Orleans
After launching as a food truck in 2008 to great success, Meltdown expanded operations with a French Quarter confectionery. Made from locally sourced and organic ingredients, the pops come in flavors like salted caramel and peach orange blossom.
Suck It Sweets and Treats, Los Angeles
This cheeky shop buys fruit from local farms to make its "suck-sickles" in flavors like nectarine and blueberry hibiscus, as well as oddball offerings such as dill pickle or spicy avocado. Many blends include fresh herbs plucked from the patio garden outside.
People's Pops, New York
Based in the indoor maze of bakeries and gourmet shops that is Manhattan's Chelsea Market, this local pioneer also hawks its farm-to-freezer pops at the Brooklyn Flea, where the founders first got customers hooked on flavors like roasted red plum and tarragon cantaloupe.
King of Pops, Atlanta
When the banking industry let him down, Steven Carse turned to his love of paletas (Mexican ice pops) for a new career. He aspires to run a waste-free company by donating fruit scraps to community gardens. Paletas are made in both Southern-inspired flavors, like the Arnold Palmer (sweet tea with lemonade), and more traditional variations, like Mexican chocolate spiced with cayenne, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and vanilla.
Pleasant Pops, Washington, D.C.
In 2009, college friends Brian Sykora and Roger Horowitz, distressed by the lack of paletas in Washington, D.C., decided to open Pleasant Pops. Using fruits, vegetables, herbs and dairy from sustainable farms, the duo stops at area greenmarkets to sell flavors like strawberry ginger lemonade and cucumber chile out of their truck, referred to as Big Poppa. A brick-and-mortar storefront called the Pleasant Pops Farmhouse Market is due to open this summer.
Lil' Pop Shop, Philadelphia
Philadelphia's first artisan popsicle shop opened in May in West Philadelphia. Owner Jeanne Chang's bright, colorful store attracts students from nearby UPenn and Drexel with unusual combinations like peanut butter and curry, goat cheese cherry, and mango sriracha. Flavors rotate seasonally, with fall ushering in pumpkin and eggnog pops.
SF Pops, San Francisco
The warm weather-only stand's yellow umbrella signals summer at the Marin Country Mart Farmers' Market. Owner Rebecca Rouas experiments with local fruits and herbs to make flavors like rosemary apricot and Chia Lemonade, combining Meyer lemonade and superfood du jour chia seeds. She also caters to kids with simple options like lemonade made hot pink naturally with beet juice.
Locopops, North Carolina
Opened in 2005, Locopops is now a North Carolina institution with three locations throughout the state. Owner Summer Bicknell—who spent three months in Mexico training in the art of paleta-making—adds an American twist to the traditional frozen bar with varieties like cookies and cream, chocolate brownie and cherry vanilla. Healthier, fruit-only pops like pomegranate tangerine are also popular.
Viva Pops, San Diego
Owner Lisa Altmann turned a hobby into a career in 2008 when she began peddling her pops at San Diego's Little Italy Mercato. Now Altmann runs a store in the artsy Normal Heights neighborhood that's decorated with a vibrant, somewhat psychedelic mural of fruit, flowers, birds and pops. Delicious combos like vegan strawberry basil and creamy blackberry violet use fruits and herbs sourced from San Diego area growers, and the shop supports a local dog rescue group with profits from dog-friendly frozen minis made from organic apple and carrot with no added sugar.