A new Providence-based food truck has hit the scene, bringing ice cream loving Rhode Islanders something different: Mike’s Ice is now serving up Thai-style ice cream to Little Rhody.
Thai-style ice cream, also known as stir-fried ice cream, is a form of made-to-order ice cream. It starts off as a liquid ice cream base that is poured onto a freezing surface of about -10 to -15 degrees Fahrenheit. It is tossed around a bit on the surface while mix-ins, such as Oreos, Reese’s cups and peanuts, are added. After the ice cream freezes, it is spread out flat onto the cold surface and scraped up with a spatula into the iconic rolls that define Thai-style ice cream.
Major Pettaway, co-founder of Mike’s Ice, explained that he got the idea to serve this kind of ice cream when he was watching Thai kickboxing videos. A commercial came on for a very popular form of ice cream being made in the streets of Thailand. The sound of metal scraping metal as liquid ice cream was moved along a cold pan and mixed with flavorings caught Pettaway’s attention.
At the time, Pettaway and his business partner, Sadam J. Salas, were planning to start a frozen yogurt business. But the commercial Pettaway saw got them thinking, and they decided to bring Rhode Islanders something they’ve never seen before. Pettaway and Salas ordered the necessary equipment, taught themselves how to make the ice cream and practiced it until they could do it perfectly.
Mike’s Ice serves about seven different flavors of ice cream that all have unique names, such as #yolo, which is a chocolate base with brownie, chocolate fudge and chocolate chips. There’s also a #relationshipgoals flavor, which is an original base with peanut butter, Reese’s cups and fudge. The hashtag names definitely help the business connect with something that Millennials know all too well.
I tried the #instagood, a vanilla base with Oreo and chocolate chip cookie mixed in. The ice cream had half of an Oreo and chocolate chip cookie on top and the whole thing was drizzled with delicious fudge. But this ice cream wasn’t just a pretty face; it was scrumptious. The cookies mixed in was a great bonus and I must admit, their chocolate chip cookie was one of the best I’ve eaten. Not only was the ice cream spectacular, the staff on the truck were extremely friendly and seemed happy to be doing what they were.
Their ice cream is only part of the Mike’s Ice mission, though. Mike’s Ice was started in honor of Michael Gnoato, a friend of the co-founders, who passed away in August 2013. “We all grew up together,” Pettaway said. “So we wanted to dedicate [it] in his name.”
Not only did the three grow up together, they all served our country in different branches of the military. “We fall into that demographic,” Pettaway said, explaining that he served in the Army and Salas serves in the Navy. Because of their ties with the military, customers can make donations to Mike’s Ice that Pettaway and Salas will give select military and veteran groups in Rhode Island. “It’s not an average ice cream truck,” Pettaway said of their philanthropic plans. It’s ice cream for a cause.
With a staff of five, the company plans to serve Thai ice cream all over Providence and at private events. “That’s the beauty of being a food truck,” said Pettaway describing his business’ mobility.
Mike’s Ice opened officially on July 1, so keep an eye out for them to hit a community near you soon. More information about them can be found at mikesicetruck.com. Locations and some added information can be found at their facebook and twitter accounts: fb.com/mikesicetruck and twitter.com/mikesicetruck