Houstonians buy Underground Creamery’s ice cream in seconds

Josh DeLeon makes about 400 pints of ice cream a week. Its clientele is 4,000.

So when I asked him if Underground Creamery was ready to open his own shop, he saw no reason for it: “When you sell out in 20 seconds every time, why do anything else?

Word of mouth

DeLeon, 31, was born in the Philippines and moved to Houston when he was 10 years old.

He launched his Instagram Eats Gone Wild after finding his vice during a weightlifting competition: junk food. Eventually, those cravings turned to ice cream, and he started reviewing different varieties online.

“There’s a time when you have hundreds of pints, you just want to do it yourself,” he said. “I kind of created my own dreamy flavors and shared them on Eats Gone Wild.”

At first, DeLeon made his ice cream in his apartment and sold it to friends and family. Word got around, however, and “friends and family” became Insta groupies and ice cream lovers.


Josh De Leon, 31, owner of Underground Creamery, puts handwritten labels on the Miso Banana Brownie Caramel ice cream he makes Thursday, June 9, 2022 in Houston. De Leon started making ice cream in 2018. Today, he makes 400 pints for a clientele of 4,000 from the kitchen he shares with Pudgy’s Fine Cookies.
Yi-Chin Lee/staff photographer

Underground Creamery owner Josh De Leon, 31, shows off the miso caramel he made for Miso Banana Brownie Caramel Ice Cream Thursday, June 9, 2022 in Houston.  De Leon started making ice cream in 2018. Today, he makes 400 pints for a clientele of 4,000 from the kitchen he shares with Pudgy's Fine Cookies.
Underground Creamery owner Josh De Leon, 31, shows off the miso caramel he made for Miso Banana Brownie Caramel Ice Cream Thursday, June 9, 2022 in Houston. De Leon started making ice cream in 2018. Today, he makes 400 pints for a clientele of 4,000 from the kitchen he shares with Pudgy’s Fine Cookies.
Yi-Chin Lee/staff photographer

Underground Creamery owner Josh De Leon, 31, shows off the miso caramel he made for Miso Banana Brownie Caramel Ice Cream Thursday, June 9, 2022 in Houston.


“I had a Google doc where I post my inventory of what I’ve done. It would be empty throughout the week but I’d update it. Once I updated it, people would contact me on Instagram and whoever messaged me first would get it.

Texas Cottage Law is pretty clear about the types of foods you can make and sell — and ice cream isn’t on the list. But DeLeon had to start somewhere, so everything was kept “down” for a while.

He didn’t realize how big his ice cream business had grown until he popped up in Sugar Land.

“When you’re in your Insta bubble, you don’t know how many people want to try your stuff,” he said. “There was a line wrapped around the building.”

Underground Creamery owner Josh De Leon, 31, takes a photo of a pint of Miso Banana Brownie Caramel ice cream for the menu of the week Thursday, June 9, 2022 in Houston.  De Leon started making ice cream in 2018. Today, he makes 400 pints for a clientele of 4,000 from the kitchen he shares with Pudgy's Fine Cookies.
Underground Creamery owner Josh De Leon, 31, takes a photo of a pint of Miso Banana Brownie Caramel ice cream for the menu of the week Thursday, June 9, 2022 in Houston. De Leon started making ice cream in 2018. Today, he makes 400 pints for a clientele of 4,000 from the kitchen he shares with Pudgy’s Fine Cookies.Yi-Chin Lee/staff photographer

But the second pop-up was when the health department came knocking on the door.

“Anyone can file a complaint with the health service. Guess I pissed someone off when they did.

Soon after, DeLeon incorporated and formed Underground Creamery. Now needing a place to make ice cream properly, he scored a shared kitchen space with Tatemó in the old Black Labrador near Montrose Boulevard.

Ice cream for some, not all

Underground has now teamed up with Pudgy’s Fine Cookies on a shared space up high. Customers who are quick enough to pre-order a pint when DeLeon posts on social media can pick it up from a drive-thru window.

DeLeon says his vice of junk food in college translated to ice cream quite close to his customers. One of his popular pints was peanut butter ice cream with chocolate covered potato chips and marshmallow fluff. He even reinvented a Little Debbie cream pie flavor.

Underground Creamery owner Josh De Leon, 31, prepares a batch of banana ice cream in the kitchen he shares with Pudgy's Fine Cookies Thursday, June 9, 2022 in Houston.  De Leon started making ice cream in 2018. Today, he makes 400 pints for a customer base of 4,000 people.
Underground Creamery owner Josh De Leon, 31, prepares a batch of banana ice cream in the kitchen he shares with Pudgy’s Fine Cookies Thursday, June 9, 2022 in Houston. De Leon started making ice cream in 2018. Today, he makes 400 pints for a customer base of 4,000 people.
Yi-Chin Lee/staff photographer

Underground Creamery's Packaged Miso Banana Brownie Caramel Ice Cream is pictured Thursday, June 9, 2022 in Houston.  Owner Josh De Leon, 31, started making ice cream in 2018. Today he makes 400 pints for a clientele of 4,000 in the kitchen he shares with Pudgy's Fine Cookies.
Underground Creamery’s Packaged Miso Banana Brownie Caramel Ice Cream is pictured Thursday, June 9, 2022 in Houston. Owner Josh De Leon, 31, started making ice cream in 2018. Today he makes 400 pints for a clientele of 4,000 in the kitchen he shares with Pudgy’s Fine Cookies.
Yi-Chin Lee/staff photographer

Underground Creamery owner Josh De Leon, 31, wraps Miso Banana Brownie Caramel ice cream on Thursday, June 9, 2022 in Houston.  De Leon started making ice cream in 2018. Today, he makes 400 pints for a clientele of 4,000 from the kitchen he shares with Pudgy's Fine Cookies.
Underground Creamery owner Josh De Leon, 31, wraps Miso Banana Brownie Caramel ice cream on Thursday, June 9, 2022 in Houston. De Leon started making ice cream in 2018. Today, he makes 400 pints for a clientele of 4,000 from the kitchen he shares with Pudgy’s Fine Cookies.
Yi-Chin Lee/staff photographer

Underground Creamery owner Josh De Leon, 31, whips up a batch of banana ice cream on Thursday, June 9, 2022 in Houston.  De Leon started making ice cream in 2018. Today, he makes 400 pints for a clientele of 4,000 from the kitchen he shares with Pudgy's Fine Cookies.
Underground Creamery owner Josh De Leon, 31, whips up a batch of banana ice cream on Thursday, June 9, 2022 in Houston. De Leon started making ice cream in 2018. Today, he makes 400 pints for a clientele of 4,000 from the kitchen he shares with Pudgy’s Fine Cookies.
Yi-Chin Lee/staff photographer

Underground Creamery owner Josh De Leon, 31, wraps Miso Banana Brownie Caramel ice cream on Thursday, June 9, 2022 in Houston.


DeLeon quit his job as a Southwest Airlines ramp agent in October, so Underground Creamery is his full-time job. While he is excited about the future of the business, he is also hesitant to see quality drop if production increases.

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