“We have had a great time with the mobile food truck over the past few years, and we have looked into adding a second truck for some time now,” owner Sally Mengel tells us. “I have also been intrigued about having a floating food truck for a while, so we decided to put the two together and do a boat. It operates just like our food truck, only no wheels.”
To celebrate the launch they are unveiling the boat to the public this Friday from 12-2 at the soda fountain inside the Green Corner Store. The boat will be parked nearby for tours before it sets sail. Along with the first look Loblolly will have ice cream floats, a special saltwater ice cream flavor, and giveaways for everyone who comes out.
Mengel says they will aim to hit some of the major water hot spots around the state this summer. Included in the list is Greers Ferry Lake, Buffalo River, Arkansas River, Lake Hamilton, and Lake Ouachita. The boat will rotate around, but will make an effort to hit key events such as Riverfest, 4th of July, and Labor Day weekend.
“The summer experience in Arkansas for most people includes some time on our beautiful lakes and rivers. It also involves eating ice cream,” Mengel continues. “We have looked for ways before to combine the two, but short of driving our truck into the water it was not possible. The boat gives us extra mobility to share our fresh, local made ice cream with everyone.”
The 35 foot two deck “party barge” pontoon boat, still wrapping up the final modifications, will feature solar power to the freezers on board similar to Loblolly’s food truck. They plan to keep an existing slide on the boat for easy access off. They will include tables and chairs to seat as many as 40, with tie up spots for boats and jet skis. The boat will have all the standard amenities of their soda fountain including 12 ice cream flavors, a grab and go freezer, house made sodas, milkshakes, floats, and more.
Loblolly hopes that as the summer progresses they will be able to offer local craft beers as well depending on the local liquor laws of the locations.
Dubbed the SS Loblolly, they hope to hit Riverfest weekend on the Arkansas River as the first outing. The full schedule of events will be posted on the Loblolly Facebook page as the summer nears. Rumor is Matthew Lowman will dress up as Captain Jack Sparrow to drive the boat. Loblolly does recommend waiting 30 minutes after eating your ice cream to swim again.