Skinny Mike's Kauai
I stumbled upon Skinny Mike’s Hawaiian Ice Cream shop after it quietly opened in Harbor Mall this May. The family-owned and operated business serves ice cream and sorbets made with local fruit as well as sundaes, milkshakes and coffee produced in Hawaii. I visit on a sultry day and feel relief as soon as I walk into the air-conditioned store.
Waffle cones are made in-house so the smell of caramelized sugar fills the air. Colorful blackboard menus hang on ocean blue walls, which are framed with white trim. Eleven year old Olivia Lutkevich stands behind the counter, wearing black dance tights. She’s putting in the last few minutes of her shift before she goes to dance recital. With a ready smile, she takes our order and rings us up.
The ice cream shop also serves as an internet cafe, with free WiFi. You can sip on locally grown coffee, indulge in ice cream floats, or “Wake Up Shakes”, which are milkshakes made with coffee instead of milk. There are also options for vegans and those on gluten-free diets. A cooler holds other beverages such as Kauai Juice Co. kombucha, Kona Red coffee berry juice, Wai Koko coconut water and Wailua soda. A bench made from half a boat is next to the cooler, and wood tables and chairs are inside as well as outdoors on the lanai.
Twenty-four sorbets and creams fill the cooler including dragonfruit sorbet, mango sorbet, ube (purple sweet potato), lemongrass sorbet, lychee sorbet, POG (pineapple, orange and guava) sorbet, ginger cream, pineapple cream and Kona coffee. Dan enjoys two generous scoops ($5.95) of mocha java chip. I take a bite of lychee cream and the essence of sunshine fills my senses. The taste is floral and lightly sweet with bits of fruit. It’s as fresh as a summer breeze.
A tall, thin man walks in from the back room. His name is Mike Scherer. He’s Olivia’s father as well as the owner of Skinny Mike’s. “How do you like it?” He kindly asks.
“I love the flavors and that everything is made with local fruit,” I say, tucking into another bite.
“You know, we met before,” he says. “My wife and I went on one of your food tours when we first moved here. We loved it!”
Once again I am grateful for Kauai’s small community, where people lead with aloha and heart. We continue to talk, and in the name of research, Dan and I order a couple of sundaes. The Honu ($5.95) comes with house-made caramel sauce, butter pecan ice cream, house-made hot fudge and whipped cream. Dan goes for the S’more ($5.95) with macadamia nut ice cream, graham crackers, house-made hot fudge and roasted marshmallows.
Skinny Mike’s has so much to offer, I think it’s going to be my new place to meet colleagues. The again, maybe I’ll just stop in for a quick and refreshing mid-day treat!