A taste of Hawaii is at Ohana Shave Ice in downtown Hollister.
“We want to bring the flavors of the island to the mainland,” said Karina Hernandez, who with husband, Peter, opened the stylish eatery less than two weeks ago.
The unique dessert is very different from a standard snow cone.
“The ice is shaved rather than crushed so you get a cotton candy type of consistency,” said Karina Hernandez. “The syrup is then absorbed into the ice instead of draining to the bottom. We make our own simple syrup and use concentrates from Hawaii.”
Tropical flavors include: guava, passion fruit, mango, lime and a twist on strawberry called Tigers Blood.
“We also get the best quality purified water that is available and make our own ice from it,” said Karina Hernandez.
To get an authentic Hawaiian shaved ice experience Karina Hernandez recommends including a scoop of vanilla bean or macadamia nut ice cream with a drizzle of sweet cream on top, called a snow cap.
“When you do that it creates a creamy consistency because the ice is so fine,” she said.
Ohana Shave Ice sources from regional vendors, including Marianne’s Ice Cream.
“We want to keep things fresh by introducing new ice cream flavors and new combinations depending on the season,” said Karina Hernandez. “We aim to offer new products as we move forward.”
While on vacation in Hawaii the couple fell in love with the relaxed island culture and sweet, cool shaved ice. When they could not find a similar product back at home, they saw an opportunity to start a new business.
“We began with a booth at the Hollister Farmers Market,” explained Karina Hernandez. “Then we started doing catering events. Then, slowly but surely, we were able to expand to a mobile trailer.”
Earlier this year Ohana Shave Ice was a finalist at the Startup Challenge Monterey Bay, a regional competition and accelerator program for entrepreneurs.
The top placement encouraged the couple to open a brick-and-mortar shop.
“Every detail in the shop brings that Hawaiian experience,” said Peter Hernandez. “The colors, the artwork from Hawaii on the walls, and the tabletops made from custom surfboards.”
Inspired by one of their favorite places to buy shaved ice in Hawaii, each tabletop is engraved with a word or sentence fragment that when put together reads, “sit back, relax, enjoy, you are on Hawaii time.”
“We want to provide a fun and safe place for kids and families to visit in the downtown,” said Peter Hernandez. “We intentionally didn’t provide Wi-Fi. We don’t want to see kids on their phones; we want to see them talking to each other.”
Family is very important to the parents of three boys.
“We wanted to reflect our family with our business, because family is everything to us. And that is what Ohana means,” said Karina Hernandez.