BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - It’s not quite summer in south Louisiana until customers satisfy their sweet tooth at a snoball stand. With a different stand on almost every corner, for some, it’s just part of growing up in the area, while others say it’s one of those must-hit spots on their annual trip home to visit family.
“We’re visiting our son and daughter-in-law and grand kids and we came to this one because it’s delicious,” said Barbara Engen.
In Baton Rouge, everything can easily turn to friendly competition. WAFB’s Scottie Hunter went looking for the best spots in town to settle the score.
"It gets busy," said Justin Terrell, assistant manager at Sno Man Sno Balls. "I mean Burbank has a line all the way to the street sometimes and sometimes we get a line here as well."
The only thing sweeter than what they are selling at the Tiger Bend Road location is the process inside the business. It’s a well-oiled machine and part of what the staff believes makes them the best.
"It's definitely a tradition and we definitely have our regulars who come every day," said Terrell.
If it’s one thing they have going for them, it’s reliability. It also helps that they have the Tiger Bend location, plus two other locations in the Capital City, including on Perkins and another on Burbank.
“Rain or shine, every day, and that’s part of why our business has been so well is because we’ve been consistent,” Terrell said.
Across town on Florida Boulevard, Marlon Robertson says his snoballs at Brain Freeze Delights are the ones to beat, hands down.
“They are always feening for those snoballs man and they be call and be like when are you guys opening,” said Robertson. “So that’s definitely something that we look forward to.”
He has been going strong for five years and now and knows his way around a snoball.
“The Berry Chantilly Cake is one and we have the Pineapple Upside Down Cake, that’s another popular flavor,” said Robertson.
His variety cannot be topped. Not only does he have what he calls the “safe,” traditional flavors, Robertson adds to his menu constantly, mixing and matching his own syrups, fresh fruits, and other toppings to create something truly magical.
“Every season, we try to create something new and bring it to the table and hopefully we have done a good job of doing that,” Robertson added.
If it’s something unique the customer is after, Brain Freeze definite is top of the list. Customers have not quite had a snoball in Baton Rouge though unless they visit one of the veteran spots. One of those includes stopping by to see Dedrick Greggs at Scotland Sno Biz on Scenic Highway. While everyone else typically creates the cone shape, Greggs crafts his snoballs by hand into a dome shape.
"My wife came up with this idea and I just kind of took it and ran with it," said Greggs.
He got into the business accidentally after spending 16 years working in a manufacturing plant, but has not looked back in more than a decade at Sno Biz.
WAFB’s Scottie Hunter asked Greggs if he ever thought his business would grow into what it is now.
"I really didn't have any idea," he responded. "The man upstairs has been good to me."
Greggs says that’s part of what keeps customers rolling in, but many of his customers rave about what he puts out in his products and customer service.
"The ice is real soft. It's real good and I could just eat the ice by itself," said Pearlie Williams.
“It’s soft, yeah, and it lasts a little bit longer I find,” said another customer.
What is most special about the place though may be the service and barbershop-like charm that really makes customers feel at home. Greggs also takes the extra step though, even literally helping some of his elderly customers down the steps after they make their purchases. Those who frequently stop by the shop say little touches of unmatched customer service like that is what truly makes Sno Biz one-of-a-kind.
"That's what the people like, that's what they love and that's why they keep coming back," Greggs added.
Whether it’s the way they do the ice at one place, the variety of the flavors at another, or even the reliability at any of the others, a snoball truly is the best way to beat the heat in south Louisiana.