Shaved ice shack gives Pocatellans A Taste of Hawaii

Jul 18th, 2017 | By | Category: Featured
Mark Cruse, who’s from Hawaii, and girlfriend Gina Rollins are co-owners of A Taste of Hawaii, which they started about a year ago. It turns out that many Idahoans like the shaved ice treats they make as much as Hawaiians do.

Mark Cruse, who’s from Hawaii, and girlfriend Gina Rollins are co-owners of A Taste of Hawaii, which they started about a year ago. It turns out that many Idahoans like the shaved ice treats they make as much as Hawaiians do.

By Kendra Evensen
Kevensen@journalnet.com

POCATELLO — There’s a shaved ice shack in town that’s serving up some tasty treats — Hawaiian style.

A Taste of Hawaii at 245 Yellowstone Avenue in Pocatello is now open Tuesday-Friday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday from noon to 8 p.m. The business is closed on Mondays.

Mark Cruse, who is from Kauai, Hawaii, says shaved ice is served much differently back home and he missed the tasty treat after he moved to Idaho.

A friend eventually encouraged him to open a shaved ice shack of his own.

“I went into the kitchen and started experimenting until I got it down pretty good,” Cruse said.

Now he and his girlfriend, Gina Rollins, run the seasonal business that started roughly a year ago. And it turns out that many Idahoans like the treat as much as Hawaiians do.

“We stay pretty busy,” Cruse said, adding that they also get high ratings online.

People from other states sometimes stop by when they’re traveling through the area, Cruse said. And they have told him they don’t have anything like his shaved ice back home.

Cruse says they make everything from scratch. They shave their own ice to give it a snowy-texture, and they blend their syrups with real fruit.

They top the shaved ice with fruit and condensed milk. For 50 cents extra, customers can also order the treat with ice cream — Cruse recommends that — or li hing mui, a sweet and sour powder that’s frequently used in Hawaii.

Cruse says they serve the treats in a variety of flavors, including raspberry, strawberry, coconut, mango, pineapple, kiwi and watermelon.

“What we tell everybody when they’re curious about it is, if you like the fruit, you’ll like the flavor,” Cruse said. “That’s what it’s made of is the real fruit.”

Cruse hopes to make the shack bigger and better in the future, offering even more flavors, and he wants to expand the business to other areas one day.

Meantime, Cruse is planning to open a Hawaiian restaurant later this year. He’s not releasing many details yet, but he says he may sell shaved ice there as well so people can get it year round.

Cruse said he appreciates the community that has rallied around his ventures.

“I want to thank everybody for their support,” he said. “It’s been really awesome since we opened. They make you feel really welcome.”

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