From Avocado To Arnold Palmer: Pete's Pops Brings Over 70+ Popsicle Flavors To The Milwaukee Area
Avocado, sweet potato peach, Vietnamese iced coffee, rhubarb buttermilk, Arnold Palmer — these are all flavors of popsicles, believe it or not. They’re just a few of over 100 flavors of fresh fruit and ice cream based fresh popsicles made by Pete’s Pops.
Pete Cooney, founder of Pete’s Pops, got the idea to bring all different flavors of popsicles to Milwaukee after trying an avocado-flavored frozen treat at a farmer’s market. Now, Pete’s Pops has created over 70 different flavors, which can be purchased at locations all around the greater Milwaukee area.
“It was kind of this really perfect intersection of something that made me excited, something I thought would work and something I thought I could do,” he says.
Cooney taught himself how to make popsicles, including replicating the avocado popsicles that inspired him. Early on he says creating the recipes required a lot of trial and error and making popsicles in Dixie cups in his kitchen. While he says not all of the recipes were winners, he realized that if he used good ingredients, it was hard to make a terrible popsicle.
The business expanded to a production facility on West Vliet Street and North 38th Avenue in Milwaukee, which includes a window to buy a pop on the go. After that, he opened a location in Bay View called The Pop Shed and the newest location on South 71st Street and West Rogers Street in West Allis — as well as mobile carts, including one set to open outside the Milwaukee Public Market starting June 25 called Sneaky Pete's.
“Years ago, I never would have imagined that we had our own production facility with a storefront, and that seemed out of reach and scary, and then the second that we opened that and we had it, it was kind of like, you know, what’s next?” he says.
Part of his drive to expand the brick-and-mortar locations was due to the pandemic. He says farmer’s markets, weddings, Summerfest and events at Miller Park were a huge part of the business, but all had to stop because of COVID-19.
After expanding to Bay View, Cooney says West Allis was somewhere he was always interested in. “I like, maybe, going unexpected places and I don’t think that people talk enough about West Allis,” he says.
Cooney says he is always accepting new ideas for popsicles. He recently developed a rosewater lemonade flavor with the help of a newly hired chef and says a few customers have asked for a dill pickle flavor which may be on the horizon.
“It’s just kind of all over, and that’s the most fun part is you just get to sit down and kind of brainstorm what’s next,” he says.