Ryan O’Bryan’s Must Have Summer Treat – Hawaiian Snow
You can have your convenience store slushies, but when it comes to cooling off during the humid Evansville area summers, there's no better place to go than Hawaiian Snow on St. Joe (rhyme unintentional).
Sitting in a gravel lot across from Busler's gas station at the intersection of St. Joe and Diamond Avenue for over 20 years, Hawaiian Snow doesn't look like much on the outside, it's nothing more than a yard barn that get a new coat of bright paint every year or so, but on the inside, employees work throughout the day shaving blocks of ice into a soft, snowy texture, and top it off with your choice of sugary, fruit-flavored syrups.
Hawaiian Snow has been a summer staple for me since I was a kid, and I now have the pleasure of taking my own kids each year. Offering a wide variety of flavors from the standard, cherry, grape, orange, etc., to more tropical flare like coconut and pineapple, customers have the opportunity to pick their favorite, or mix it up by combining up to three flavors in one cup. I prefer my sweets a bit on the tangy side, so my go-to is a large sour grape, blue raspberry, and sour lemonade side-by-side-by-side.
What I like about Hawaiian Snow over the several other snow cone stands in the city is the texture of the ice. It's not crushed into pellets like you get with a typical snow cone. Instead, they use a huge block of ice and literally shave it using a machine about the size of a large microwave. Leaving you with a product that literally feels like you're eating flavored snow. They also add the syrup throughout the cup, not just on top once the cup is full. Meaning you also won't find all the syrup sitting at the bottom of the cup leaving you with nothing but a cup of crushed, flavorless ice.
If there's one issue I have with it, it's that it's not open long enough. Since it's generally staffed by high school students, the shop doesn't open up until after school lets out for the summer, and shuts down around the time the school year starts back up in August, although they may open up on weekends only through Labor Day, but I'm not quite sure. With that said, I think that's a key reason I love it so much. It's not available year-round. It's something to look forward to every summer. A "leave them wanting more" mentality, if you will.
Next time you're out on the west side on a steamy, muggy, summer day in Evansville, swing by Hawaiian Snow and cool off with the best darn snow cone in town.