Kona Ice serving up more than frozen treats

The Kona Ice Shop has plans to serve mini doughnuts once a week. (Crystal Apilado/Winters Express)

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Since opening last year, The Kona Ice Shop has weaved seamlessly into the charm of downtown Winters. Although known for its frozen treats, owner Teddy Rojas is baking some delicious, new additions to the menu.

Located at 11 Main St., Kona Ice is in a prime location to serve the community. While running a business in a pandemic is nothing short of a soul-sucking challenge, Rojas remains upbeat and excited about Kona Ice’s future.

“The town’s been great and super supportive. We’ve been doing our best to stay current on getting new things out there. We had fro-yo (frozen yogurt), shaved ice and ice cream. We’re currently working on getting our doors open so people can try our new flavor wave,” Rojas said. “It’s a bunch of tubes on the wall that’s gravity fed from the back so customers can see their ice cream coming out. We just have a few additions to make, but we’re excited to get the doors open within the next couple weeks.”

After hurdling staffing challenges and remaining COVID compliant, the 30-plus flavors on the wall aren’t the only new addition to The Kona Ice Shop. They’ve also invested in a $30,000, state-of-the-art doughnut machine.

“We got our machine last year and tested products the last eight months. We tested its speed, quality and made sure it runs smoothly. We’re going to start serving doughnut one day a week, build a buzz and see what time is most popular to sell them,” Rojas said explaining his trial-and-error approach. “Eventually we want to have custom doughnut by the dozen with different frostings, toppings and everything. That’s our ultimate goal, to move into custom stuff and take pre-orders.”

Rojas said their doughnut machine is capable of pumping out 1,200 mini doughnut an hour, satisfying doughnut cravings comparable to the likes of Homer Simpson. Although customization is their goal, their staple as of now remains a classic sugar-cinnamon coating on their little, baked morsels.

Beyond the circular deliciousness, Rojas also plans on serving up milkshakes. Starting with simple flavors at first, the plan is to allow customers to build their own milkshakes as well, transforming Kona Ice into a veritable mecca of customizable desserts.

“I grew up in a small town until I was about 18 in a place called Gustine down I-5 in the central valley,” Rojas said explaining his affinity for Winters. “It’s similar to Winters and has that small-town feel. The community has fun stuff to do, and I plan to stay here a long time doing business and move here at some point. My family’s also been here forever.”

With familial ties to the town, and ambitions slowly coming to fruition, Rojas and The Kona Ice Shop are becoming a sweet spot for Winters’ residents. To stay up-to-date on all the new changes, visit @thekonaiceshop on Instagram.

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