Freaky Tiki voted Owensboro’s favorite shaved ice stand; owner takes pride in unique offerings

July 13, 2021 | 12:09 am

Updated July 12, 2021 | 11:07 pm

Freaky Tiki | Photo by Ryan Richardson

Freaky Tiki Hawaiian Shaved Ice is the people of Owensboro’s favorite spot for such summertime treats, according to the poll Owensboro Times conducted last week asking the community for their input.

Owner and operator Teresa Duke is a veteran in the business, having sold shaved ice in several capacities throughout the community. The business had stints on both Frederica Street and KY 54 before moving to its current location at 18th Street (between J.R. Miller Boulevard and Triplett Street) in 2018.

“I’ve been doing this for over 10 years,” Duke said. “A friend of mine knew someone in the business with a stainless steel cart for sale that had an umbrella, so we bought it and began selling shaved ice at events. We did that for a while and I liked it so I started setting up at events by myself.”

Duke’s love for the industry and her customers continued to grow, sparking several evolutions within the business. What was once a pop-up tent and an umbrella with some equipment has grown into a steady business at the current location. 

On Monday, there was a line that extended down the sidewalk even as heavy rain poured down, waiting for one of the 24 original flavors or some combination of those. 

“I have 24 flavors and then each week I have a flavor of the week, which is different from a flavor on the menu,” Duke said. “I strive for customers to be able to taste something different, that way I’m not just offering 35 flavors all the time. We also have toppings like Nerds, Sour Patch Kids, and Pixie Sticks.”

Several of the flavors are themed after popular television shows such as Shark Week or even Tiger King — the Netflix hit that was all the rave last summer. Joe Exotic (Popeye, Mango, and Lime flavors) and Carole Baskin (Ozark, mountain berry, and pina colada) are among some of the top sellers. 

The shaved ice is priced at $2.50 for a small cup, $3.50 for a medium, and $4.50 for a large. Duke maintains the hours of 1-7:30 through the summer but generally shortens her hours as kids return to school. 

Weather permitting, Freaky Tiki generally maintains operations from May 1 to Sept. 1. They also have a van and are available to set up and serve at any events such as company picnics, reunions, schools functions, or any other special occasion. 

“I have some pretty great customers that have been very loyal throughout the years,” Duke said. “Some of them say they love me and they love my ice — they say it’s softer and has the right consistency because it’s real shaved ice.”

Duke isn’t the only one in her family that operated a shaved ice stand; both of her children were in the business at one time. Her son helped to design the logo and her mother frequently helped her serve in years past. 

“I take pride in every shaved ice I make — I want them all to be perfect,” she said. “You have to love it to stay in this business, and I do.”

July 13, 2021 | 12:09 am

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