BEST OF ST. LOUIS 2009
FOOD & DRINK
Best Snow Cones: Tropical Moose
it all began
There is nothing like enjoying an ice cold, juicy and flavorful treat on a hot St. Louis day. And, as thousands of locals know, one of the best places to do that is at a Tropical Moose Shaved Ice stand.
Anyone who knows Pat & Jack Williams knows they are two extraordinarily warm and generous people who have worked individually and together to serve the deaf community in St. Louis as well as other non-profits in the area. They give their time and energy to their community and then look around for something more to do. It is that energy and creativity that spawned Tropical Moose Shaved Ice (and Walk-A-Way Waffles).
Tropical Moose is one of the most popular Snow Cone Stands in St. Louis . “Tro Mo”, as it is affectionately called by its many loyal customers, got its start a decade ago after Jack and Pat vacationed in Hawaii. Since then Tropical Moose has become a St. Louis institution to which eager fans flock in the summer to get their favorite icy treat.
Pat & Jack partnered with Rio Syrup to offer, fresh, locally mixed flavors and, together, they have continued to expand their list of flavors. Tro Mo now offers ___ flavors and Jack is always in the “lab” coming up with something new.
The most popular stand is located in the Kirkwood Farmers Market, near the railroad depot and attracts fans from throughout the state. Passengers and crew from the train station look forward to a shaved ice cone and a friendly smile from a welcoming crew member. Customers often call ahead to make sure their favorite flavor will be available when they arrive.
When the Kirkwood Parks & Recreation department asked if the couple was interested in taking their popular treats to the park to service residents and visitors, Jack said. “Why not!”
With little fanfare, the stand opened and soon experienced a line of customers waiting (but, not too long) to get their favorite flavor of shaved ice or to try something totally new, like Monkey Snot, which has since become one of the most popular flavors.
When Jack realized that their Wheaton Terriers, Blue and Broghan, loved to hang out at the stand, he asked them why. They told him that “the dog days of summer” really are real and that they would like to also have a cool treat. Pat & Jack agreed that many people like to bring their four footed friends with them to the stand and to the park, so Jack created a Canine Cooler just for dogs. The meaty treat was a howling success and is available at all locations.
The Tropical Moose stand is so popular with dogs that members of the Sheep Dog Club visit every year after their annual show. (photo) The winner might even get a ride in the Tropical Moose truck.
Now, the Tropical Moose stand in the park is not just a convenience for park visitors and pets, but a destination for folks who want to relax in the peaceful surroundings of the park while slurping down a giant cone.
Jack and Pat have made an art form out of hiring and training young people to work in and even manage their businesses. With over 40 employees, they orchestrate a thriving enterprise that encourages an outstanding work ethic, team management and personal responsibility. New employees are screened and chosen by their peers who set and maintain a high standard while offering plenty of encouragement and support.
Attendance and customer service are high priorities for Pat & Jack. That sense of leadership has permeated the entire operation so customers can rest assured that they will be served with courtesy and efficiency.
But, at Tropical Moose and Walk-A-Way Waffles we understand that there is always room for improvement, so, if you have a complaint or suggestion, don’t hesitate to let us know.
Who knows what another season will bring, but one thing is for certain, with Jack and Pat at the helm, it will be fun and delicious.
COME VISIT US SOON
Jonathan Munroe, News Writer
October 2, 2018
Every summer, Tropical Moose opens its windows to Kirkwood residents who flock to the Farmer’s Market and Kirkwood Park for their locally famous snow cones. But there is a downside to all this business: styrofoam usage. “I hate styrofoam,” Madelyn Pozaric, sophomore, said. “I feel guilty whenever ...
Tags: Jack Williams, Madelyn Pozaric, Michael Oldani, Tropical Moose
Cool summer jobs:
Anna Mullendore, health and wellness writer
August 29, 2015
The mid-July sun fails to make blue-stained smiles fade as sticky-fingered kids run about the Farmer’s Market on a sugar high. High school students exchange ice chips drenched with iridescent dye in styrofoam cups for sweaty dollars. Grant Trokey, Emily Rankin and Jack Wever have found the sweetness ...
Tags: Emily Rankin, Grant Trokey, Jack Wever, summer jobs, tro-mo, Tropical Moose
Best Spots for Snow Cones in St. Louis
· Mabel Suen
· Jul 6, 2017
At Tropical Moose, owner Jack Williams offers a product that’s as Hawaiian as it gets in the Midwest. The shaved ice proved to be the finest of all the kinds we tried and gets its marked snow-like texture from special machines ordered straight from the islands. Even the company’s trademark flower-shaped cups come Oahu.
Keeping with the Pacific Islands theme, one of the brand’s specialties is the Volcano, an exploding snow cone that gets it eruptive qualities from the addition of Pop Rocks. Although the fine flavored ice bodes well enough on its own, patrons can enjoy a cup in a variety of other options: with ice cream, sweet cream, Nerds, sprinkles or sherbet.
Try inventive sugar-cane syrup combinations such as the blackberry-based Motor Oil or Georgia Sunshine, a sunny mixture of peach and orange.
Pet pals can get a taste of the tropics too: A Canine Cooler with a liver base serves as a tasty treat for four-legged friends, moose or otherwise.
It's all in the ice, the perfect snow cone. How you shave it and then how you shape it in the cup. Get it right, and a snow cone is the best antidote to the steamy, stinky St. Louis summer.
Get it wrong, and the tastiest syrup in this or any other universe won't rescue a cup filled with ice so chunky it could crack a tooth. Tropical Moose knows how to shave ice properly, creating fine flakes that miraculously hold their form from cup to spoon to mouth.
The Tropical Moose staff smartly sculpts this ice into a mound with a depression in the center into which syrup is pumped, flavoring all of the ice, not just that on top. As for the syrups, you can choose from among dozens and not go wrong — well, "Monkey Snot" is an acquired taste — thanks to that perfect, and perfectly refreshing, ice.
Tags: Food & Drink, Tropical Moose Shaved Ice-Kirkwood
BEST OF ST. LOUIS 2003
FOOD & DRINK
Best Snow Cone:
Forget the plastic spoon they give you and just dive in. Taking your first gulp of a Tropical Moose snow cone is the next best thing to rubbing your face in the fresh snow of a peak in the Alps. That's because at Tropical Moose they don't crush their ice; they shave it.
Each cone (served in a plastic cup rather than a messy paper wrap) is handcrafted, as it if were being carved by an artisan. But the final result is always worth the wait. In fact, waiting in line outside this little brown shack at the Kirkwood Farmers' Market has long been a local summer tradition.
And it is a shack, but the modest overhead allows Tropical Moose, which is open daily from noon till 9 p.m. during market months (April through September), to keep prices as low as a buck a cup. When the dog days of summer linger on, think Tropical.
And speaking of dogs, don't forget to bring yours. They love the Canine Cooler, which is a liver mixture in syrup form. that is perfectly safe for your pet.
Also, from the RFT:
Snow cone or snowball?
By Ian Froeb firstname.lastname@example.org
"...So the first place I stop is Tropical Moose, next to the farmers' market in downtown Kirkwood. I ordered a small, orange-pineapple snow cone. Listen, Doc: It was almost Proustian.
The ice was shaved fine — but not too fine. You needed a spoon to eat it. And there were no tooth-cracking ice chunks. The syrup was good, too. Sweet, but not overly so. It didn't taste like fake orange and fake pineapple. And just like when I was a kid, I ate it too quickly. Serious brain freeze.
So at this point I'm thinking the whole snowball-vs.-snow-cone debate is just regional, like whether you say "soda" or "pop." Because my Tropical Moose snow cone was just as good as any snowball I remember from Baltimore...."
Also, from the RFT:
the Teenagers' Dream Job
A manager at a Tropical Moose location in Kirkwood says
the store receives job inquiries "on a daily basis."
By Carlos Restrepo, Neighbor
May 31, 2012 5:09 am ET | Updated May 31, 2012 5:25 am ET
The day school was out, Sara Barnard, a junior at , said she knew exactly where she wanted to work over the summer: Tropical Moose, a shaved-ice parlor with two locations in Kirkwood and one in Webster Groves.
"Me and my friends pretty much live in Tropical Moose, so I thought it would be a great job for me," said Barnard, who is still waiting to hear from Topical Moose if she got the job. "I also realized that during the summer you have a lot more time and you need a lot more money and your parents usually don't want to give it to you."
But Barnard is not the only area-teen interested in working at the shaved-ice joint. Suzanne Hesse, a manager at Tropical Moose in Kirkwood, said the store receives inquiries about working there "on a daily basis."
"It's a great, fun work environment," said Hesse, a 2011 graduate who has been working at Tropical Moose since her freshman year of high school. "It's perfect for any teenager who wants a summer job."
Hesse, however, said those seeking a job at Tropical Moose may be in a waiting list.
"But we don't discourage anyone from applying," Hesse said. "We never know when we might need someone new."
Hesse said the work at Tropical Moose is fun, but can get very busy, especially during hot-summer days.
"Sometimes it's hard to keep up with the crowd," Hesse said. "We have huge lines and we really try to go through everyone quickly. Everyone is always working and multitasking while being extremely friendly."
Patience and friendliness, Hesse said, are some of the key factors the owners of Tropical Moose will be on the lookout for in their workers.
She said it is that friendliness, perhaps, what makes Tropical Moose such a desirable job for teenagers.
"Everyone who I work with, we are all friends," Hesse said.
Saint Louis, MO
When I think of my definition of a tip-top tasting sno cone, it's exactly what Tropical Moose sells.
The ice isn't crunchy, it just melts in your mouth! Plenty of flavors, even sugar-free ones! As if that weren't good enough, they even add free nerds on the top if you request them (and evidently sprinkles too, but I haven't tried that yet).
Seriously, can it get any better? Oh, wait, yes it can...the prices are beautiful. I've always only ever gotten a kid size and it's $1. You'd think a kid size would be a wimpy one-bite portion, but nope! It's perfect.
I've heard that the lines can get absolutely out of control, but I've never had to wait more than a few minutes. Still though, waiting 15 minutes for this sno cone perfection would be absolutely worth it.
It's right next to the Kirkwood Farmer's Market, which is nice to walk around while eating your sno cone. Or, you can sit on the benches/chairs that are conveniently located right in front of the stand.
Our first visit to this place and it has amazing options for flavors. It also has flavors and icy for dogs! The guy at the window was very polite yesterday and the lines and very long but it moves very quickly. Will visit again next time in town!!
San Francisco, CA
Perfect place to cool off and enjoy a snow cone on a hot summer day!
Creve Coeur, Saint Louis, MO
I was just there and I ordered a mini and they made me a medium. Then I said I ordered a mini and they said they would not make me a new one and made me take the medium. Lauren the worker is so rude. But the snow cones are good. They need to learn the customers are always right!!
St Charles, MO
This is a cute little stand in Kirkwood near the farmer's market where you can get some shaved ice.
Now first of all, I don't understand all the hype about this place. I mean, c'mon, it's shaved ice, for crying out loud! Not that exciting. You are effectively eating little bits of frozen water with some sugar and artificial flavor on top. Effectively.
But daaaamn is it so good on a hot day. Now I know why people, quote "Lose their s--- over this stuff" in the words of my boyfriend, Sean, who grew up in Kirkwood. Hehehe. At times like these, I really wish he liked writing reviews.
Nothing much more to be said about it, other than it's fairly cheap...$1.50 for a small one and you get your choice of up to 3 flavors. I had coconut and pineapple, and I guess I could have just ordered pina colada but I like the flavors side-by-side.
Such an easy way to please the kiddos! Every summer I take some child I am watching here and every time it is a euphoric experience for them.
The amount of flavor options is incredibly overwhelming, in a good way.
The nerds in the ice just puts it over the top.
There are little tables and benches around. Just a great little stop for a summer treat.
My only complaint is the ungodly amount of bees! I mean I understand, the sugar and syrup in the trash cans near the stand but it's been so bad recently we eat in the car to avoid panics and meltdowns. Eh, take the good with the bad I guess.
Saint Louis, MO
The perfect end to a HOT St. Louis summer shopping trip!
I love this place!!
They have many flavors to choose from and what cools you down more than a snow cone??
They are always very friendly. And it's proximity to the farmers market is a huge plus!!!
The servings are HUGE and the prices are so cheap that even I carry that much money!'
Saint Louis, MO
Picture this: The temperature is close to 100 degrees and it's already past 7pm. You are in the mood for a tasty sweet treat, but you have had enough custard in the last week. You want something different. Refreshing. Tasty.
Time for TroMo!
This place is always busy, but the service is quick. They have a bunch of flavors and you can mix and match. The ice is like snow and so soft. They put a lot of syrup in your sno-cone- score! You can get free sprinkles or nerds on top too.
I ordered a medium ($3). I figured that medium is always a good choice when you don't know the sizes. The guy asked me if I was familiar with the sizes. I kind of brushed him off. Then he came to me with a GIANT PILE OF ICE in his hand. It was HUGE. A small ($2) would've been more than enough. Take this as fair warning! These portions are cheap and huge - so order a large at your own risk!
Saint Louis, MO
You haven't had shaved ice until you've visited Kirkwood Farmer's Market and stood in line at the TroMo Shack!
They offer finely shaved ice, drenched with flavors like Monkey Snot (green apple), Volcano (includes explosive Pop Rocks) and Motor Oil (dark blackberry).
My personal favorite is the Eskimo Cheesecake - creamy cheesecake in the middle of any flavor snow cone.
They're open daily from noon till 9:00 PM, but it's especially fun to visit Saturdays when the Kirkwood Farmers Market is really hopping.
Saint Louis, MO
Monkey snot, wedding cake, motor oil, tiger blood, Georgia sunshine...
At TroMo you can get as adventurous as you want with your flavors...there are 47 of them! I'm a blue sweet tart fan myself...with Nerds (they're free for the asking...sprinkles are, too!)
I wasn't a big fan of sno cones until I tried TroMo.
The "shaved" ice really makes for a smoother treat that keeps the flavor consistent throughout. No getting half way through and left with barely flavored ice.
Lots of kids, teens, and families here with plenty of seating scattered around the Kirkwood Farmer's market stalls...but be sure you're in line by 8:30 or you'll be out of luck!
And don't forget to compare tongue colors with your companions when you're done! Ahhhh...summertime!
Saint Louis, MO
Summary: Best shaved ice I've ever had.
This place is always hoppin'. I was in queue for 15 minutes in 90 degree muggy weather (at 8:30 no less), but it was worth the wait.
They have the best shaved ice I've ever had. It's super soft, it stays cold from start to finish and they have a good selection of flavors.
Tip: To avoid ice with no syrup,
eat the middle first then push the
sides down into the middle to soak
up the left-over syrup.
Laguna Hills, CA
[Amazing!!!!! Huge flavor selection. Great Prices. Nice Area. Giant Snow Cones. They even have snow cones for dogs. five stars!
Saint Louis, MO
Love that it has become the gathering spot for young and old on any hot summer night (or day). The lines are long but worth the wait for a refreshing banana shaved ice.
Saint Louis, MO
A St. Louis Summer must! Cool location, good flavors, CASH ONLY.
Saint Louis, MO
I love snow cones, which are not all created equally! The snow cones at Tropical Moose are more like snow than shaved ice. ...the selection of flavors are great and they are inexpensive. They do not open until noon, but that's probably for the best! Everyone should have a snow cone from TroMo!
Perfect on a hot summer day! And you get free nerds atop your snow cone. What's not love about that?
Saint Louis, MO
I like Tro-Mo, but I mean, it's just a sno-cone. I can't really go much higher than the 3 stars for that. The kids think they are ok but they'd much rather have other treats. So, it's cheap and the sno cones are decent and the people there are very nice. I guess it's just not so much my thing.
This amazing snow cone stand is located around the corner from on my best friend's parent's house, in the heart of the Kirkwood market. Only open from mid-May to Labor day (noon to 9pm), it dishes out mounds of flavored ice for less than a gallon of gas on Election day (meaning it's cheap).
The smallest size, a mini, is under two dollars and is more than enough shaved ice. The flavors appear on an easel board located a few feet from the stand. The ice used is fresh and stored on site. It's perfectly shaven as if it fell from the sky in the middle of December, without any hard ice junks like one can find in snow cones from fairs.
With 45+ flavors, it becomes a task to choose, luckily you can get multiple on one cone. My personal favorite is the classic, blue raspberry which stains your mouth for days.
For an extra 50 cents, you can add pop rocks to the top for what TroMo (the short name of the stand) called a 'volcano snow cone', which I highly recommend.
Tip: The pop rocks spend about a minute popping once poured on, then settle down until you stir them in or begin eating without - as I do. Sprinkles or nerds can be added to the top for free.
Other additions items to top off the prefect shaved ice include other small candies and ice cream, at additional fees of course. While its a drive for someone located in midtown or the city, its well worth a stop if ever in Kirkwood on a hot summers day and in need of a refreshing treat.