Montrose gets the Chills
Instagram-friendly ice cream sensation snares a hot Houston location
Another Dallas-based restaurant has set its sights on Houston’s most prestigious dining neighborhood. Chills360 will join Velvet Taco and the East Hampton Sandwich Company in a new shopping center at 903 Westheimer, director of business development Usman Babar tells CultureMap.
Established in 2016, Chills360 serves the Thai-style rolled ice cream that became a sensation in Houston when it arrived in Chinatown last year. The trend has expanded to the suburbs, but it hasn't made its way inside the loop — until now.
Chills360’s recipes have been developed by pastry chef and co-owner Javeria Babar, who previously worked for Sheraton in New York. The ice cream shop has been a sensation in the Dallas area, where it’s already grown to three locations. As at other, similar concepts like Houston's Class 502, Chills uses a super-cooled metal plate that freezes the liquid ice cream while customers watch. It's then scraped off the plate into rolls and adorned with toppings.
Customers from Houston began inquiring about when Chills would head south, so the Babars began searching for a good location that would support the shop’s late night hours. Usman concedes he doesn’t know much about Houston, but friends suggested he look in Montrose. While the rents are a little higher than other areas they considered, he thinks it’s a good fit.
“We were looking for a perfect location for over a year. We want good foot traffic (with) nightlife and bars,” Usman Babar says. “When Montrose came up and we found out that Velvet Tacos was going there, they’re open until 4 am . . . that’s where we wanted to go.”
In addition to a late-night crowd, Babar notes that Chills should draw interest from bar goers because it has an upbeat atmosphere with music that makes people want to dance.
While the atmosphere has to be welcoming, it won’t matter if the ice cream itself isn’t good. Babar says chef Javeria Babar’s recipes use a higher percentage of butterfat than other rolled ice cream shops, which gives their product a more creamy texture. In addition, they’ve offered innovative flavors like being the first Dallas ice cream shop to jump on the coconut-flavored black ice cream that became an Instagram sensation earlier this year.
Babar says construction should begin next month. If all goes according to plan, Houstonians will be lining up for Chills’ sweet treats in March, 2018.