Oliwia’s Shave Ice brings tasty treats to Hartselle
By Constance Smith
Located in historic downtown Hartselle is a cheerful little shop with a sweet story: Oliwia’s Shave Ice.
In 2016 Olivia Littrell went on a vacation with her family to Hawaii. While there, she enjoyed a favorite cold treat but discovered it was done a little differently on the islands. Although most everyone is familiar with snow cones or shaved ice, in Hawaii, these frozen desserts begin with a base of ice cream, and then the shaved ice dessert is built on top.
Littrell’s family was instantly in love with this version and enjoyed it every night of their vacation.
While on a layover in Dallas on the way back from their trip, Littrell and her dad, Jason, began researching what it would take to start their own shave ice business. Shave ice, as it is called in Hawaii, is different from a snow cone. The ice is not crushed or ground; as the name indicates, it is shaved. The shaving of the ice gives it a very light and airy texture, much like real snow.
As soon as she got back from her trip, Littrell designed her logo and came up with the name. Why “Oliwia?” In Hawaii, the letter “v” is pronounced as a “w” – a fun Hawaiian twist on her name.
Littrell said she was determined to have her own shave ice shop, and she started working toward that goal right away. She set up a shave ice stand in the summer at the O.W.O. Youth Camp, using a hand-cranked ice shaver. The treats were an instant hit: She sold 75 of them on the first day alone. She used that summer stand money to save up for an electric ice shaver, the one she uses in the shop today. In October 2019, when Littrell was 20 years old, her dream came to fruition, and her shop opened.
While the shave ice stands in Hawaii generally carry three flavors of ice cream, Oliwia’s offers a rotating variety of 16 different flavors of Bluebell ice cream and 40 different flavors for the ice, including some sugar-free choices.
Patrons can experiment and come up with their favorite flavor combinations. One of the most popular is vanilla ice cream topped with blue raspberry and tiger’s blood ice. Olivia’s personal favorite, “The Oliwia,” consists of strawberry ice cream, pineapple and guava shave ice and a “snow cap” topping of sweetened condensed milk.
The shop also offers homemade waffle cones, sugar cones and milk shakes. A popular milkshake is the Frosted Butterbeer.
Oliwia’s Shave Ice is located between Main Street and the Freight House at 115 Railroad Street. It is adjacent to Shaw’s Printing Company, which is owned by Olivia’s aunt, Amanda Shaw.
Oliwia’s Shave Ice is open Tuesday through Saturday and offers private parties for birthdays and other occasions.