Ah, snow cones. We've all had one, or two or three, to stave off hot summer days.
Brentwood is lucky enough to have some of the best around at Southern Sno, and the snow cone stand just kicked off its summer season. Owners Karen and Jay Davis have owned the stand for 13 years now, having become over time—and through word of mouth—a favorite summer hangout spot.
The secret to Southern Sno's refreshing treat is the ice, said Karen Davis, a former school teacher.
"The temperature of the ice makes a big difference," she said. "The colder the ice is, the softer it stays, and doesn't clump up."
Davis and her husband make their own syrup because it "tastes fresher that way than to buy it already made." They buy flavors and equipment from New Orleans, because the company they work with is also family-run and, Davis said, is where some of the first original shaved ices were born.
Though the couple opened the business as a means to put their four children through college, in the end the whole family decided that selling snow cones and hot dogs was the way for them.
"For us it's been the quintessential family business," said Davis, whose kids now run Audi-K's, a hot dog joint in the Central West End.
Davis loves running the snow cone stand. "Once we open, it just changes the whole summer," she said. "Everything smells and feels different, like being a kid again."
Southern Sno's menu ranges from basic flavors like cherry (the most popular, according to Davis) to Peach Tiger Blood, with cherry, strawberry, coconut and peach.
"Men tend to like the old popsicle flavors: grape, cherry and orange," Davis said. "Women, they like the pina coladas and strawberry daiquiris."
On the hot dog side, try the Killer Dog, with horseradish, kraut, onions and red pepper relish.
Want to know how to make your own snow cone? Check out these easy-to-make instructions at home.
1 part white granulated sugar
1 part water
Bring ingredients to a boil together in a sauce pot. Simmer until the sugar has dissolved, then remove from heat and allow to cool. Mix in desired flavor to taste.
Davis says Rio Syrup Co. in St. Louis sells high quality flavors for snow cones, for commercial and home users. You can also get an electric home ice shaver on the website for $34.95, accompanied by two freezing dishes.
If you don't feel like making them yourself, Davis won't mind. Part of what she loves about her business is the customers.
"We get to know so many people. It's really fun," she said. "We've watched kids grow up from when they were little and trying to jump through the window to now, where as tall or taller than the window."
Southern Sno is located at 8600 Strassner Drive in the parking lot and is open Monday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. The stand will stay open until dusk each day starting Memorial Day.