A.C.’s Icees Celebrates 40 Years
For almost half a decade, Allan Cohen, or A.C., has been serving fresh icees from his truck to the people of Miami.
February 25, 2019
A.C.’s Icees has been serving the perfect refresher after a long walk in Coconut Grove’s Kennedy Park for 40 years now. The white truck painted with an unmistakable wild-haired, bearded Allan Cohen is parked at the front of the park every day from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. On most days, Cohen wakes up at around 3 to 4 a.m. to squeeze innumerable cases of lemons and other fruits to make his iconic lemonade, cherry and piña colada icees.
During the ’60s, Cohen would vacation to Miami from Detroit every opportunity he had. Being a long-distance runner, he would spend his mornings sprinting in Kennedy Park with friends, but he noticed one problem, there was nothing to drink for him or his friends once they crossed the finish line. Cohen then came up with the idea of A.C.’s Icees.
“In 1978, I decided to make my favorite vacation spot my permanent home,” Cohen says. “It took me two years to get proper licensing to start the business; it was rough. I had to fight the Parks and Recreation Department for a concession contract to let me sell food and drinks in a public place. After lots of insisting, I received the first mobile concession permit in the area and from there on out, we were open for business.”
“My icees have always been the same. I always say if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, but we have made some improvements,” Cohen said. “Now we use water purifiers and piping to two massive machines that pump out ten gallons of juice at a time. This keeps the line from getting too busy and helps when 20 kids and runners come at once to purchase some thirst quenching icees.”
The small business does not only sell icees though. Cohen also makes hot dogs for $3, and tuna and chicken salad pitas for $4.50. His icees on the other hand, come in three sizes; a small is $3.50, a medium is $5 and a large is $7. Although most people use credit cards or Apple Pay to purchase everything, Allan Cohen refuses to accept anything but cash at his stand.
“All I want is to keep things simple in any way possible,” Cohen said. “Nothing in this city is simple anymore.”
A.C.’s has been one of the few spots in Coconut Grove that has maintained a large number of customers for almost half a century.
“People come here because they know I’ll never leave. I have spent years trying to make this truck the best thing in the world,” Cohen said.
Allan Cohen and his truck have done more than just serve frozen lemonade for these past 40 years— it is undeniable that his business has become a household name and touched every customer’s heart. Cohen says he often runs into customers he has not seen in years and will catch up with them as if they had spoken yesterday. Without A.C.’s Icees, Coconut Grove and Kennedy Park would just not be the same.