September 12, 2009

A Community Treat: The Hukilau Hut

The Hukilau Hut is an icon around Sarasota and Bradenton, its custom-made vehicles and delicious shave ices causing smiles and turning heads wherever they go. Juan Gutierrez, proprieter of the original Hukilau Hut based in Sarasota, drives the small RV shaped like one of his delicious shave ice treats, with custom hand-carved Hawaiian-inspired embellishments on nearly every part of the vehicle. Gutierrez's son-in-law, Luis Trujillo, has recently established a presence in Bradenton with his smaller modern version, also 100% hand-carved and custom designed. In addition to the original Hukilau Hut, there is now the Tropical Bamboo Bar, the Wild Island Truckster, the Huki-Huki Golf Cart and the Carribean Transport.It is not only their unique rides that make the Hukilau Hut's shave ices special, it's the more than twenty-five rich flavors. For $3, Juan or Luis will fill a giant cone with shave ice, and add one of many custom blends, including Hawaiian originals like Lulo, Mora, Curuba, and Tamarind. When your flavor is chosen you can then add their incredible sweet cream or marshmallow topping. Their flavors can also be mixed with spirits (provided by their clients) to create delicious mimosas, mojitos, margaritas and daiquiries.

So what's so special about shave ice, it's just like a sno-cone, right? Not hardly. Shave ice is a large block of ice spinning on a sharp blade. Just a fraction of the ice is shaved off to produce a fluffy, light 'snow' that captures and locks in the flavors within the snow flakes, and keeps them from draining to the bottom of the cup. "This method produces a much more fulfilling treat than the typical snow cone," says Gutierrez. "Those leave you with a load of syrup and ice at the bottom of your cup."

The Hukilau Hut was inspired by the famous North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. A 'Hukilau' is a gathering of people to have fun and share food, refreshment, and fellowship. The Hukilau Hut is available for luaus, parties, birthdays, grand openings, fundraisers or any celebration where fun is the objective!

In Sarasota, you can find Juan in front of the SwimMart on Tamiami Trail every Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoon. In Bradenton, Luis serves his treats on Sunday afternoon in front of Mattress Firm on US41. The Hukilau Hut is available for rental at your event by calling 941-350-2029 in Sarasota, or 941-914-3597 in Bradenton. You can also email Juan at For more information, please visit