“It starts snowing on Saturday!”
That’s the news that thousands of fans of Tropical Moose have been waiting to hear through the cold and dreary winter months.
The popular snow cone stands in and will open for the season on Saturday, and that spells “summer” to devotees of the shaved ice treats, like Nora and Taylor Anderson. The Des Peres sisters estimate they visit Tropical Moose just about every other day in the summer.
“It is really, really good,” said Taylor, her lips stained red with sour cherry syrup.
Taylor, 10, and Nora, 12, were first in line Tuesday when Tropical Moose opened its newest location, by the ball fields in . The park location will be open all week from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. On Saturday, all three locations will be open full time seven days a week (11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Kirkwood Park, noon to 9 p.m. at and noon to 10 p.m. at Webster Groves.)
The newest location was announced on the Tropical Moose website and its Facebook page, prompting a number of TroMo devotees to check it out Tuesday.
“Kirkwood Parks asked us if we’d consider being in here this summer and (my husband) jumped at it, because Kirkwood has been so good to us,” said Pat Williams, who along with husband Jack, owns and operates Tropical Moose. “The crew’s real excited. They’re ready.”
The Williamses opened their first shaved ice stand on Watson Road about 14 years ago, Pat Williams said. When that property changed hands, the couple looked for a new spot and landed in a tiny shed at the Kirkwood Farmer’s Market. They are going on their eleventh year in Kirkwood and their third year in Webster Groves (at 37 Old Orchard).
It took a couple of years for Tropical Moose to get going, she said.
“Then all of a sudden, it just boomed. We even got a nickname – ‘TroMo.’ We knew we’d made it when we got a nickname,” she said.
Snow cone fans young and old flock to TroMo all summer long, lured by traditional flavors such as cherry and grape as well as TroMo’s special creations, including Monkey Snot, a favorite of many. Pat Williams said her husband came up with that one.
He will only say that it’s green apple mixed with “a secret ingredient he gets from the zoo,” she said.
Other favorites include Wedding Cake and Tiger Blood. There’s even a special treat for TroMo’s four-legged friends, a Canine Cooler flavored with liver.
The Anderson girls were so excited for their first taste of summer that they arrived at Kirkwood Park at 4 p.m. on the dot Tuesday. They were first in line.
“I’m enjoying my first TroMo of the season,” Nora said, as she slurped a colorful mix of Maui Sunrise and Blue Hawaii (with candy Nerds sprinkled on top.) Taylor tried out a mixture of sour cherry with Nerds and sweet cream added.
Another TroMo fan is Julie Sinclair, 17, of Kirkwood. She heard through the grapevine that TroMo was opening on Tuesday but got the story wrong and drove over to the Webster Groves location and then the Farmers Market location, before finally finding her beloved Tiger Blood snow cone with candy Pop Rocks on top at the park.
"This is what I love about Kirkwood in the summer," she said.