50 Years of Chilling: Aunt Stelle's Sno Cones in Oak Cliff
That monster they created is like a siren call that brings people back to the neighborhood where they grew up, maybe to show their kids the house where they were raised and grab a snow cone that's made the exact same way it was when they were 12 years old. Albert has seen three and four generations of families through her small wooden-framed window to southern Dallas.
Years ago when her family still lived near the snow cone shack, hungry customers would even knock on their door looking for their shaved ice fix. Albert admires her customers' tenacity and faith, even though sometimes it was a little much.
"Prior to opening on some days, the doors will be completely shuttered yet there will be a line of people to the sidewalk. They just always have faith that we're in there," said Albert a little amazed.
At Aunt Stelle's they harvest their own ice and even make their own syrups from scratch. The menu board that hangs to the right of the window is as old as the stand itself, just updated on occasion. Albert says that strawberry is the long-time favorite, after that it's the house-made Pink Lady that tastes like homemade vanilla.
"Aunt Stelle" is Albert's mom, who was one of nine children and, as a result, had a small army of nephew and nieces. "Aunt Stelle" just stuck and it also just had a nice ring to it for a neighborhood snow cone stand.
There is one small, yet really important rule at Aunt Stelle's. (Generally there aren't many rules when it comes to snow cones, but this one is important) The last person in line at 9 p.m. is the absolute last person served. It doesn't matter how urgently a customer needs a large half coconut half banana; if they're not in line at 9 o'clock sharp, then come back tomorrow.
"We always get people that say, 'I was in line, just was standing over there,'" Albert says laughing. She's heard every late snow cone story there is. But by 9 p.m. after standing on her feet for seven hours, she's ready to shut it down.