benny's hawaiian shave ice truck opens
Story and Photos by Laurel Brown
Have you tried one of the newest food trucks in Hood River yet? Benny’s Shave Ice is nestled downtown near the movie theater next to Four and Twenty Blackbirds on Fifth and Columbia Street. Run by Benjamin Tubbs and his family, Benny’s Shave Ice opened in May after purchasing their bright blue trailer in the winter.
Tubbs has been in food service for many years but always wanted to own his own business. Originally from Seattle, the Tubbs have spent time living in Hood River and traveling the world. They moved back to the area in 2019 and, after a family trip to Hawaii, and realized the lack of shave ice options in the Gorge.
Hawaii holds a special place in their hearts, so choosing authentic Hawaiian shave ice was a no-brainer. Not only did Tubbs work on a cruise ship there in the past, but he and Akela hope to move to Hawaii someday after years of making it their destination for adventures and vacations.
“Locals are slowly starting to know where we are and what we have to offer,” Tubbs said. The truck has a fruity menu with plenty of flavors to choose from, including alternative dairy choices and homemade mochi. Check out the Three Sisters with passion fruit, orange, and guava or the Mt. Hood topped with strawberry puree.
“One of the next steps is trying to get more natural, fresh puree options. We’d like to support local farmers wherever possible in our ingredients as the business grows,” said Tubbs. His kids, Caden and Chloe, are his primary workforce while his wife Akela helps outside of her busy nursing schedule.
“We did push for a spot on the waterfront or Oak Street, but it’s been nice to be around other food trucks. The recognition and business we get during the Saturday markets is also great,” Tubbs said. They plan to stay open through October, depending on the winter weather, and are excited about the positive buzz from both locals and visitors.
Benny’s Shave Ice was a featured vendor at the waterfront for the fundraising event Kiteboard 4 Cancer in early July, though moving the food truck proved to be difficult. “We probably won’t do that again,” Tubbs laughed, “but we do hope to offer vending options down the road, maybe for weddings or parties.”
With punch cards for returning customers and credit card payment options, Benny’s is a refreshing new place to check out for something sweet and unique. Their new summer hours are now in effect: Wednesday 3-7 p.m., Thursday and Friday noon to 7 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday noon to 7 p.m. Check them out on Instagram @bennysshaveicehoodriver.