Henry Weiler, a junior and a baseball player at Rockhurst University, didn’t want to wait until he was done with college to put his entrepreneurial skills to the test. On July 1, the 22-year-old bought a trailer to transform into a snow cone truck. He’s been booked every weekend since.
Weiler’s shaved ice, unlike many run-of-the-mill snow cones, has a creamy texture. He offers flavors with names like Bug Juice, Over the Rainbow and Tiger’s Blood.
He’s not looking for his icy business to turn into a long-term endeavor. He has bigger aspirations, he says, than serving snow cones forever. He hopes to keep the business going for three, four, maybe five more summers and then sell it to someone like himself. But for now, it’s a pretty impressive extracurricular for someone not yet finished with his education.
Why snow cones?
I wasn’t looking to invent something. I was really looking to find something in the Kansas City market that was a popular item and that the market wasn’t saturated with. Shaved ice — all my friends go to all the competitors that I have now, and it’s always everywhere. It’s the fad in Kansas City as far as a summer treat.
It’s something informal that you can run as a student or a young adult, and the returns are ridiculous. It’s been a lot of fun.
How long will you be selling snow cones this year?
My last event is the NASCAR race at Kansas Speedway in the middle of October. I have the World Series of Barbecue at Arrowhead Stadium, and Big & Rich will be there, so that should be a pretty good one. That’s the first weekend in October.
My only competition in Kansas City that’s mobile, that I know about at least, is Kona Ice. They’re kind of the big gorilla in this market, and here I am, a little college kid trying to fight the big gorilla. My goal is to come in and beat out the competition.
How many flavors do you have?
What makes me unique is I have over 30 natural, organic flavors — so no artificial dye and no artificial flavorings. I have about 30 organic flavors, and then I would say roughly 60 regular flavors, nonorganic. And then you can buy different combinations that you can mix. The most popular would probably be the Jayhawker, which is blue raspberry and cherry.
Snow cones aside, what’s your least-favorite ingredient?
I don’t like pickles. I don’t like mushrooms. I don’t like olives. Sushi is not my first choice when it comes to a meal.
What’s your favorite cheap lunch?
I went to the University of Arkansas for my first years of undergrad. There was a restaurant there called Slim Chickens. It actually just came to Kansas City. I’m ecstatic that they’re in Kansas City now. It’s a chicken finger place kind of like Zaxby’s. Or a good pizza place is North on 119th (in Leawood). I love their pizza. Or Coal Vines on the Plaza. Love Coal Vines.
What’s the best thing you ate this week?
Probably North’s. I had their pizza the other night.
What’s your favorite snow cone flavor?
The first one is ice cream cake. It’s snow cream, French vanilla and coconut. Or I don’t know if I should put this in the article because it’s kind of embarrassing, but it’s called Princess. It’s cotton candy and bubblegum. I love it.
What’s your go-to drink after a long day or a long weekend?
Boulevard Wheat, with a lemon of course.
Which celebrity would you most like to see come to your truck?
I’d love to see Drake come to my truck. I could see Drake getting a piña colada.
What’s a culinary trend you wish would catch on in KC?
Food trucks! You’ve just got me all riled up now. Their rules and regulations on food trucks are so strict. Big cities like Austin, Texas, that’s like the food truck capital of the world. Why can’t we be more open to food trucks and make them more accessible?
What’s your favorite food city in the U.S. aside from Kansas City?
Probably Charleston, South Carolina. Seafood from Charleston is so fresh, and the southern twist that they put on it, it’s just different from the Midwest.
Kitchen Convo is an Ink dining questionnaire highlighting young personalities in the food/drink community. Know someone we should talk to? Send story ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.