If it had been a little warmer this spring, the Madison area could be welcoming the return of Mad City Shaved Ice with open arms. However, it's been a bit too chilly, says proprietor Ken Pulliam.
Shaved ice is a more refined version of the venerable sno-cone, with a smoother chop. Pulliam originally had a shaved ice shop on West Broadway in 2002, but a hike in rent forced him to change locations to a spot on East Broadway, where "four bad cold summers" did him in.
He's back this year with a custom concession trailer and a mobile vending license from the state, planning on selling at fairs and festivals throughout Wisconsin, including Monona's Fourth of July festival. And he's also applying for a permit to vend in Madison's parks.
The shaved ice comes in 35 flavors (though he hasn't pulled them all out yet), including Tiger Blood, Citrus Island and Blue Raspberry.
In addition to shaved ice, he sells fruit smoothies (no-fructose blend), stuffed pretzels and pizza, and may add Babcock ice cream. And, because Pulliam lives on Monona Drive and his lot is actually zoned commercial, he can vend out of his driveway. He's been open already on warmer days, and reports that following a big track meet at Monona Grove High School, which is directly across the street, he had a run on smoothies.
Pulliam plans on being open in the driveway at 4405 Monona Dr. from 6-9 p.m. weekdays and 2-9 p.m. on weekends, weather permitting. It's a short detour off the Lake Monona bike path, and, if you're coming by car, a brief stay in a nearby church parking lot is permissible. For more info, call 608-444-0088.