Boozy Dole Whip Hits Dallas

The Dole Whip is topped with a healthy dose of dark rum at 4 Kahunas Tiki  Bar and Lounge. Go early, they sell out quickly.
The Dole Whip is topped with a healthy dose of dark rum at 4 Kahunas Tiki Bar and Lounge. Go early, they sell out quickly. Lauren Drewes Daniels
It’s odd what things garner a cult-like following: David Koresh, YETI coolers, Farmville.

Dole Whip is not, however, one of those things. Of all the silly things on this ball of dirt spinning through space, a strong affection for the chilled pineapple treat makes perfect sense. It's a simple delight. With rum added to it ...  Goodness. Swipe right all day.

Dole Whip was born at a tiki bar in Disneyland of all places and gets its name from the fruit producer, who was a sponsor at the park and makes the mix. According to Disney Food Blog, Dole Whip was first served at the Enchanted Tiki Room and in the Tiki Juice Bar in Adventureland in 1986. It's also served at Disney World, where the Tiki Terrace took note of parents pouring their savings and life into their kids all day and blended rum into the treat. Mahalo!

So, while the whip has been served at amusement parks on both coasts for decades, it’s not been as easy to find — or as easy as it should be, anyway — in the wide swath of land between.

And even though Amazon sells bags of the vegan mix, it requires a soft-serve machine to whip it into proper shape. Lucky for us, two places in North Texas recently jumped in the rum-laced Dole Whip game: Swizzle on Lowest Greenville and 4 Kahunas Tiki Bar and Lounge in Arlington.

While I was doing recon this weekend something interesting happened that demonstrated the popularity of this dessert. As the bartender at 4 Kahunas poured a drink from the machine, four people lounging on wicker chairs nearby said rather loudly in surprisingly perfect unison, “Dole Whip?” Followed by one lone voice that spoke for the whole room, “That changes everything.”

Soon the bartender was carrying a tray after tray to different tables, emptying to the tank in the machine.

click to enlarge
The Dole whip at Swizzle
Jen Reyes at Swizzle says customers are making trips to their restaurant just to have it, “Whether their first experience of this pineapple treat was at Disneyland, in Hawaii or even at our own Texas State Fair, it’s a staple in tiki culture."

Reyes says they keep their machine churning all day to keep up with the demand. "If they grew up eating it, they get excited to see it on the menu. They eat for appetizers, dinner and dessert or drink it as a cocktail with rum,” she says.

Swizzle offers a straight cup ($8), a float made with pineapple juice ($10) or they'll add a shot of Don Q Reserva 7 ($13). Same at 4 Kahunas; you can get it straight or with a shot of dark rum poured over.

Pineapple Grill in Hurst also has Dole Whip, and they said they sell about 200 of the desserts each week. Instead of rum, they add li hing mui, which is similar to Tajin but a bit sweeter.

Below are a few other area places we found that carry Dole Whip, none of which require a flight to the coast or a theme park:

Hawaiian Bros. (inside Revolving Kitchen), 520 Shepherd Drive, Garland. Takeout only.

Pure Poke, 6750 Gaylord Parkway, Frisco

Pokéworks, 8041 Walnut Hill Lane, No. 812, Dallas
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Lauren Drewes Daniels is the Dallas Observer's food editor. She started writing about local restaurants, chefs, beer and kouign-amanns in 2011. She's driven through two dirt devils and is certain they were both some type of cosmic force.