Dining With Denise Neil

New shaved ice businesses ready to chill Wichita out this summer

The new Ice Caps shaved ice business will open outside Towne East on Friday.
The new Ice Caps shaved ice business will open outside Towne East on Friday. Courtesy photo

The heat is coming.

Sure, Wichita has had little samples of sizzle already this spring. But June starts next week, and June is when Kansas heat starts to get real.

Lucky for Wichita, a whole new crop of shaved ice purveyors will pop up this season, and each will have its own twist on the refreshing frozen treat. One douses it with alcohol. Others top it with a creamy, dreamy snowball.

Here’s a look at some of the new shaved ice places you can sample this summer.

▪ Ice Caps: This new business opens on Friday, May 26, outside Towne East, on the east-facing side by the Noodles & Company entrance, and it sells shaved ice with a twist. Customers have the option of getting it topped with a giant mound of ice that is drenched with cream, making it resemble an ice cap on a mountain. The cap can be topped with a candy of choice, and ice cream also can be involved. Ice Caps also has a kids menu that offers color-changing spoons and spill stoppers.

It’s owned by three local women: Amisha Daniels, Maya Baayoun and Candice Ogden, who gave the business, which is set up in a mobile trailer, a test run late last summer. Ogden is a school teacher, so she can run the business during the summer. The trio even came up with a mascot for the Ice Caps – MAC, the ice-loving abominable snowman. His name combines the first initials of the three owners’ names.

Ice Caps has 28 base flavors and offers a variety of combinations. One is the Banana Split, which features banana, pineapple and cherry ice over a layer of ice cream that’s then topped with banana cream. Swamp Water is a sour creation that is swampy in color and is topped with a Gummi crocodile and sour Pop Rocks. You can see the full menu on the Ice Caps Facebook page.

▪ Mrs. Cole’s Tropical Sno: Mrs. Cole is Becky Cole, and her new shaved ice business is in a storefront, not a trailer. She opened earlier this week in the former Southern Belle Antiques and Interiors space at 103 N. Main in Goddard.

Cole works as a special education para in Goddard schools, and every summer she looks for a job to help supplement her income. She was sick of retail, so this year, she and her husband decided to open a business that was an ode to their childhoods in Altamont, where they both grew up and loved their local Tropical Sno stand.

“Our lives revolved around our bicycles, our swimming pool in the park and Tropical Sno,” she said. “That’s what we did all summer.”

The shop, which has indoor seating, serves 40 flavors of ice that can be mixed and matched. They also offer designer flavors like Tigers Blood and Strawberry Shortcake.

Summer hours will be 1 to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 1 to 6 p.m. Sundays. The shop will stay open through the summer months, then go to weekends only when school starts. It’ll close for the season after Goddard’s Fall Festival in early October.

The North Shore Shave Ice: Friends Kristin Acker and Caroline Rogers opened their Hawaiian Shave Ice trailer two years ago in Bel Aire, but this year, they’re moving it within the Wichita city limits. The trailer, all decked out in hula grass and tiki flair, will be permanently placed in front of the Pizza Hut on the southeast corner of 37th and Woodlawn all summer. Opening day is Friday.

The booth’s product is called shave ice, not shaved ice, Acker said. It’s Hawaiian style, which is popular on the West Coast and is made by actually shaving the ice off of a block of ice rather than grinding up ice. The business got its shaver and all of its supplies from Hawaii.

Some of the concoctions are made with ice cream, which the business gets from Paleteria La Reyna.

Acker said the trailer’s previous spot in Bel Aire was slow so they decided to relocate to a busier intersection that was still close to their original customer base.

Starting Friday, it will be open from 1 to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and from 1 to 9:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. It’s closed on Sundays.

Funky Monkeys Shaved Ice 21+: This shop in the kiosks at Union Station, 701 E. Douglas, has been open since February, but now that it’s warmer, news of its arrival bears repeating. J.D. Young, who’s been selling shaved ice around Wichita for the past three years, is now specializing in shaved ice spiked with alcohol, although he’ll also sell kid-friendly ice.

He’s been drawing big crowds to his business, which specializes not only in spiked shaved ice but also in alcoholic Gummi bears and Jell-O shots. He serves flavors ranging from blue raspberry to peach to margarita, and he uses flavored vodkas and rums as add-ins.

Young also has a nonalcoholic shaved ice business at Woodlawn and K-96, which is open daily.

His Union Station hours are 4 to 10 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays and noon to midnight Fridays and Saturdays. In a couple of weeks, he’ll start his summer hours, which will be 4 to 10 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, noon to midnight Fridays and Saturdays and noon to 8 p.m. Sundays.