Tucked away in a small shopping plaza behind Tahiti Nui, Pink’s Creamery is easy to miss.
But even though it may still be largely a secret on Kauai, the tiny 360 square foot ice cream shop is winning over fans. Lines of tourists often stretch out the door during busy times, and Yahoo! recently ranked Pink’s as number 14 on a list of the top 18 ice cream shops in America.
With 16 ice cream flavors, ranging from the decidedly Hawaiian such as Kona Mud Pie (Kona coffee ice cream with Oreo cookies and fudge), coconut, chocolate macadamia nut, and banana mac-nut brittle, to the more traditional mint-chocolate chip, there are plenty of options.
The ice cream, made on Maui, is Roselani’s gourmet line, which cannot be bought in stores. What makes it gourmet? It has a lot more butterfat in it (that’s the stuff that makes ice cream delicious) and it is slow churned.
A single scoop in a cup or plain cone is $3.95; it’s $5.95 for a double. Spring for the extra dollar to get it in a homemade waffle cone.
Pink’s has been in operation since 2009, but the original owner sold it in 2013 to Robert Prongay and his wife Joleen, both in their early 30s, after the two visited Kauai while on vacation and fell in love with the island. Even though they’d never operated an ice cream shop before, they decided to make an offer to buy, and after a quick crash course on how to run the place they were in business.
When they started, their customers were mostly tourists.
“People who lived in Hanalei had no clue we were there,” Robert said. “Little by little, people tried it, they liked the ice cream, they liked the sandwiches, word got out.”
Robert is referring to their signature Hawaiian Grilled Cheese, made with kalua pork, pineapple and Muenster cheese on Hawaiian sweet bread, served with Maui chips and a pickle for $8.99.
The shop does not currently have a gluten-free sandwich option, but they do have several options of 16 oz smoothies made with a half-pound of fruit – try the very berry – as well as frozen yogurt made in-house.
Other popular options include milkshakes, root beer floats, and a selection of sorbets made with local fruits, including mango banana, pineapple passion, lychee and watermelon.
“We like to highlight local tropical flavors, particularly whatever is in season,” Robert said.
As word spreads, business has been picking up, so much that Robert invited his brother-in-law and best-friend Victor Medori to move from New Jersey to help manage the store.
Pink’s is working hard to be a member of the community; they frequently offer gift cards to schools and community groups to give out as prizes. And they offer a 10 percent Kamaaina discount. Stop in regularly, and you won’t even have to show your driver’s license. The friendly staff will recognize you, and start making a double scoop of the Hanalei Sunrise (or whatever your personal favorite may be) without having to ask.
Pink’s Creamery is located at 4489 Aku Road in Hanalei. Store hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., open seven days a week.