Katiebug’s Shaved Ice and Hot Chocolate
The perfect ease for the Oklahoma heat can be found within the 12’ by 7’ walls of Katiebug’s Shaved Ice and Hot Chocolate trailers, each lovingly referred to as Lucy and Ethel. The mother-daughter duo, Katie & Melissa Morgan, can be found be-bopping around town in their vintage food trucks, passing out snow cones personally crafted with handmade syrups featuring organic products and fresh fruits. The perfect summertime treat to make you smile, and you can feel good about knowing they are made with good products and lots of love.
Your Names: Katie and Melissa Morgan
Name of your Establishment: Katiebug’s Shaved Ice and Hot Chocolate
When did you open Katiebug’s?
We opened our first trailer in July of 2014.
What inspired you to open a food truck?
A food truck really appealed to us because we loved the mobile aspect. We didn’t want to be stuck in one place like a normal shave ice stand. We wanted the ability to move around and go to events throughout the city. Once we decided on a food truck we really had our hearts set on finding a vintage trailer to convert. We have always had a love for all things vintage. Our kitchen in our house is full of pink 1950s décor right down to a 1953 pink Western Holly oven with porthole windows. We found a vintage trailer just like we wanted in Tulsa, and went to work to turn it into our first Katiebug’s trailer which we affectionately call Lucy.
Why snow cones?
They have always been one of our favorite summer treats. When we were dreaming up our concept for Katiebug’s we knew that we wanted to serve untraditional snow cones. Being conscious of what our family eats and where our food comes from is something that is really important to us and that’s why we chose to make our own syrups rather than using concentrates. Through the process of experimenting with the different ways to makes syrups we fell in love with the endless possibilities that making our own syrups brought. We are constantly challenging ourselves to see how far we can stretch our creative muscles, and what crazy, new flavors we can come up with.
Who or what was your biggest help in the early days?
Definitely our family! We started Katiebug’s as a family summer project. Everyone helped! From demoing the trailer to building it out, taste testing, even working events. It’s fun because we get to have untraditional family time while exploring new parts of our city and meeting awesome new people.
Another thing that really helped us was our fearlessness and determination. Since we started Katiebug’s as a hobby business we really didn’t have anything to loose. That allowed us the freedom to take chances and experiment with new things which turned out to really pay off. With so many new food trucks coming out each month it really motivates us to keep pushing ourselves to be better. One of our slogans is “never get comfortable.” If we feel like we can take it easy then we are not being the best that we can be.
What is your favorite snow cone on the menu?
This is a tough question, because our “favorite” is constantly changing depending on what is in season or which fruit was best at the market that week. Two flavors that are staples for our family are raspberry and blackberry cobbler with sweet cream. I am also a huge fan of the hibiscus lemonade craft soda.
What would you say is your most imaginative flavor combo?
We have so many possible flavor combinations it’s hard to say. We started this thing last summer that we call “Fearless Friday.” On Fridays we have one new really wild flavor that you can try. Some of our past flavors include avocado, balsamic pear with honey drizzle and coconut cream, cilantro lime, beet lemonade, and we even tried sweet corn and blackberry.
How do you keep it fresh and come up with ideas for your snow cone flavors?
We find inspiration in all kinds of places. When we first started we spent countless hours exploring farmer’s markets, stores like Whole Foods and Natural Grocers, looking at cocktail menus, and researching online. We always say we will try anything once. It might turn out to be the best thing ever or miss the mark. There’s only been a handful of things that didn’t make the cut.
Can you talk a bit on what your food theory is?
“Good food is very often, even most often, simple food.”—Anthony Bourdain
A documentary that we were watching said there is value in eating locally, keeping it simple, and eating fresh. We believe in using simple, fresh, minimally processed, high quality ingredients. “You are what you eat so don’t be fast, easy, or cheap.”—Unknown
One of the things I love the most about your snow cones is that your syrups are handmade with natural and organic flavors. What made you decide to take the extra time and effort to work within those bounds?
Serving traditional snow cones made from concentrates was never really an option for us. Our big thing is we won’t serve our customers a product that we wouldn’t feed our own family. That is why we put so much extra time and money into making our product. We want to serve a product made with as few refined ingredients as possible, because that is something that is important to us. All of our snow cones are made using organic sugar, fresh fruit, and local teas and herbs. We found that not only does it taste better, but is something other people value as well. We get so many people who suffer from severe allergies to dyes, preservatives, gluten, nuts, and countless other things. We never realized how many people had allergies until we started Katiebug’s. It warms our hearts that we can offer them a safe, summer treat.
If you could go back in time and give yourself advice when you were first starting your business, what would it be?
We get asked this a lot, but to be completely honest we wouldn’t change a thing. Don’t get us wrong, we have made lots of mistakes, but they have all taught us valuable lessons and helped shape our business into what it is today. If someone had warned us about how much work it would be and how much of ourselves we would have to put into it we might have never done it, and that would have been a very sad thing.
How do you manage the challenges of seasonal cuisine?
When we first started it was already the first of July, well into shaved ice season. We found that we were having so much fun that we didn’t want to close for the winter. From the beginning we always had the idea to do specialty hot chocolate in the back of our minds. We love the nostalgic, whimsical feeling that hot chocolate brings. When we were doing our research we found that there were only a handful of places in the whole country specializing in hot chocolate. We knew we needed something to take our hot chocolate to the next level and that is where the idea for our homemade organic marshmallows came in. Just like with our shaved ice we strive to use only high quality ingredients in our hot chocolate and marshmallows. No corn syrup here.
What is the most rewarding aspect of owning Katiebug’s?
It is definitely all of the relationships that we have built through Katiebug’s. From business to customers we’ve made some amazing friends along the way. We are always taken back at how amazingly sweet our customers are and how far they come to see us. We feel a huge responsibility to them. They’ve made our business what it is today.
What is the most fun/exciting thing that has happened outside the windows of your trailer?
There are so many fun and exciting things that we get the opportunity to be a part of, but the one that always sticks out in our minds is a VIP after party that we did for a heavy metal rock concert that came through OKC. The night started with me going to security to get clearance to enter backstage. Backstage they were wheeling a guy off in a stretcher who took all his clothes off and tried to jump off the scaffolding on the stage. Once we finally got set up we spent the rest of the night serving blackberry lavender snow cones to Korn, Avenged Sevenfold, Ice-T, and several other bands we knew nothing about while observing the strangest crowd that we’ve ever served. They were incredibly polite and even commented on our Facebook page weeks later saying that they missed our snow cones. It was definitely our craziest event!
What fun things can we expect to see from Katiebug’s in the near future?
We just opened a new location in downtown Edmond where we will park our second trailer, Ethel, year round. We have lots of fun plans for our new space including family exercise classes, walk-up movies, maker’s workshops, craft nights, and many more exciting things. Our motto is “Bringing back good old-fashioned fun.”
How do we find Lucy and Ethel to enjoy a delicious snow cone?
Every week we post a schedule on our social media with the dates/ times/locations of where we will be each week, and, of course, our new location at 103 N Broadway in Edmond.
Instagram : @katiebugsokc
Twitter : @katiebugsokc
Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/katiebugsshavedice
Thanks for sharing your passion and yummy treats with us!