Let’s make one thing clear: Ruby’s Sno-Balls aren’t snow cones.
Sure, a snowball and a snow cone are both refreshing mounds of shaved ice with flavoring, but Ruby’s is a light, fluffy delight. Not some run-of-the-mill ballpark snow cone with hard, granular chunks of ice and cloyingly sweet syrups.
Jessica Fultner, the mastermind behind Ruby’s, was visiting her husband’s hometown of New Orleans when she first discovered snowballs. She waited in line for more than an hour to get her first taste. It was nothing like she expected, and it sparked an idea.
“[My husband] was always very frustrated that he couldn’t get what he referred to as a snowball in our area. The first time that he ever took me to a snowball stand in New Orleans, I knew this is what I wanted to bring to my neighborhood.”
She started making the regional treats last summer, but in early August Fultner took a leap of faith by opening Ruby’s in the back of the La Victoria Mexican Restaurant on Haskell. “It’s literally a hole in the wall,” Fultner says.
The new location allows her to highlight one of the main differences between snowballs and snow cones: the flavors. Fultner says snowballs are known for having non-traditional flavors.
So far Ruby’s has featured flavors like basil, coconut cream, earl grey, ginger-cayenne lemonade, grapefruit, Texas peach, strawberry-black pepper, Vietnamese coffee and nectar cream. All of the flavors are homemade, which is where Fultner has her fun. She keeps her flavor menu rotating, which allows her to try new combinations and take suggestions.
“I don’t want a stagnant, boring menu. I’d rather it just be that we put a lot of thought into these flavors.”
The fact that the flavors are all homemade and sometimes experimental shows that her approach is about quality, not quantity.
“We’re not going to be offering 50 flavors. We’re honing it down to like 10 or 15 flavors weekly, and we’ll rotate them out,” she says. “If I were to make 50 different flavors, I would have to use preservatives, and if you use preservatives the shelf life is like six months.”
That means she wouldn’t be allowed to experiment with flavors as much. And where’s the fun in that?
Price range: $3-$5
Hours: 1-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday
Did you know: Ruby’s also has traditional flavors like banana, blackberry and cherry.
Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Lakewood/East Dallas.