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We all scream for shaved ice

Sticky Sweet Cups is a Donica family affair. Mary (left) and husband David opened the shaved ice trailer in Bertram on Texas 29 between the Shell gas station and El Rancho restaurant in April. Kids Alec and Emery enjoy helping as well as taste testing. Courtesy photo

Donna and Grant Barkey of Buchanan Dam believe they have the best job in the world. A couple of dozen miles farther along Texas 29 in Bertram, Mary and David Donica think they have a pretty good setup as well.

“We’re in the making-people-smile business,” Donna Barkey said.

Mary Donica agreed.

“It brings out the kid in you,” she said. “It makes you happy.”

The Barkeys own and operate a Hill Country franchise of Kona Ice. The Donicas opened Sticky Sweet Cups, a shaved ice trailer, in Bertram this past April. Both families sell flavored frozen water, a simple but oh-so-beautiful thing, especially as summer heats up.

“Who doesn’t love it?” David Donica said. “People line up for it.”

Donna and Grant Barkey serve Kona Ice to folks looking for an icy treat. One of their two Kona Ice trucks usually can be found at Inks Lake State Park. The other could be just about anywhere in the Highland Lakes. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

Shaved ice is the snow cone’s sophisticated cousin. According to aficionados, fine shavings from a block of ice have the soft consistency of fluffy snow, soaking up liquid flavor and melting in your mouth. Snow cones, on the other hand, are made of coarse-crushed ice.

Another difference: the variety of flavors and crazy combinations available for shaved ice versus snow cones. While the ballpark snow cone typically comes in traditional cherry, grape, lemon-lime, and soda flavors, you can get shaved ice in Tiger's Blood, creamy cheesecake, dill pickle, bubblegum, watermelon, and many more options.

Consumer-inspired flavor combinations add a creative flair to the business, David Donica said. Many shaved ice trucks feature toppings or additions such as sour spray or sweet cream.

Kona Ice is a proprietary brand of Hawaiian shaved ice. Customers can mix and match their own flavors from a fountain attached to the outside of the truck. The flavors don’t include high-fructose corn syrup but rely on Stevia for their sweetness.

The Donicas feature a number of sugarless options as well.

Whatever flavor or flavor combination, shaved ice is a great way to cool down in the hot Highland Lakes summertime.

“We have flavors for everyone, even our tall customers,” said Donna Barkey in reference to adult fans of keeping it cool — and sweet. “In Kona Ice, you never grow older, you just get taller.”


Here’s the latest information we have on where to find shaved ice in the Highland Lakes. Remember, though, most of these sweet deals are on wheels and could be away at an event or new location.

Sticky Sweet Cups

Texas 29 between the Shell gas station and El Rancho restaurant in Bertram

Hours: 2-7 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 2-8 p.m. Saturday; 2-6 p.m. Sunday

Kona Ice

Locations change, but often at Inks Lake State Park, 3630 Park Road 4 in Burnet

Kona Ice has two trucks that can pop up just about anywhere in the Highland Lakes, so keep an eye out.

Mustang Snoblizzard

2105 RR 1431 in Marble Falls

Hours: Noon to 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 1-5 p.m. SundaySno Cone Hut

914 RR 1431 in Marble Falls

Hours: 1-6 p.m. daily

D’s Shaved Ice House

Usually at the Knot Hole, 608 S. Water St. in Burnet

Hours: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday

Can also be found at times in Kingsland, Llano, and Spider Mountain Bike Park in Burnet. Track it on Facebook @homemadeflavors19 or call 512-234-0541.

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