Dallas has enjoyed a Hawaiian food wave in the past few years, starting with the poke trend in 2018 and more recently with Hawaiian-themed restaurants that specialize in the comforting "plate lunch" with rice and meat.
All of this Hawaiian infusion brings us a sweet fringe benefit: the frozen treat commonly known as Dole Whip.
This frozen soft-serve non-dairy pineapple-flavored ice cream hits you as a wondrous revelation. First, there's the texture: a perfect frozen creamy firmness that melts quickly as you eat it. (They have special machines that make it so.) And then the flavor: Pineapple is a refreshing surprise you might not predict in a soft-serve, where plain-old vanilla and chocolate rule the day.
Formerly known as Dole Whip, now officially Dole Soft Serve, the treat — a combination of dried pineapple juice and stabilizers — was created by Dole in 1986, who sell it to tourists at their plantation in Hawaii. But it developed a cult following after it was introduced at Disney theme parks, where it was promoted as a Disney exclusive, even though the mix, made by Iowa-based Kent Precision Foods Group, is available to any vendor.
Six Flags, being another theme park, began serving it at some locations in 2012. Six Flags Over Texas got in 2015, making it one of the few places back then to get it locally.
It stayed a theme park thing until Hawaiian hit town, and Dole Whip started to get trendy. It's also vegan. Now you can find it not only at Hawaiian-themed restaurants but froyo places and a burger stand, in an expanded selection of flavors such as lime, cherry, raspberry, and a new watermelon.
Two Dallas-area catering/food trucks make it yet more accessible. One is a Dole Whip-themed food truck called Southern Dole Whips — motto: "You no longer have to travel to theme parks to get a Dole Whip. We can bring them to you!" — who publish a monthly schedule of appearances as well as a rotating menu of flavors.
The other, Sweet Frog DFW Mobile, is a Virginia-based food truck chain that primarily does frozen yogurt but also Dole Whip flavors.
Here's all the places you can get Dole Soft-Serve around Dallas:
Restaurant/stall at the AT&T Discovery District food hall in downtown Dallas does Wagyu burgers topped with queso, fried eggs, bacon, and more. But Dole Whip is half the deal. They are, after all, called Bobbers Burgers & Whips, so you know Dole is in the house. They always have pineapple, plus a rotating flavor such as mango.
Cauldron Ice Cream
Orange County-based ice cream concept is known for its "puffle" cones that, when filled with their ice cream, create a flower-like appearance. With flavors suchas Earl Gray lavender, they're definitely not run of the mill. Their lineup includes "pineapple express," AKA pineapple flavored Dole Soft-Serve, which they position as a vegan flavor.
This chain is home of the decadent yet vegan cinnamon roll, topped with icing, cookie dough, nuts, candies, and more. Their vegan profile makes them a logical place to find Dole whip and some (though not all) stores are carrying it, including Frisco, Fort Worth, and Addison, where they have two flavors: pineapple and raspberry.
Dole Soft Serve Fruit Swirl at Six Flags Over Texas
Theme park in Arlington is home to a branded stand which sells pineapple and mango flavors. You can get a cone or else an extra-tall plastic cup which contains chopped pineapple on the bottom and Dole Whip on top.
4 Kahunas Tiki Lounge
Arlington tiki bar is a cocktail haven dedicated to drinks such as the Mai Tai. They have pineapple Dole Whip soft serve which you can order with alcohol or without.
Fast-casual chain founded in Kansas City specializes in island comfort food including the classic Hawaiian plate lunch with rice and pulled pork or teriyaki chicken. They're expanding across Dallas-Forth Worth this fall, including a location at 6011 Greenville Ave. in Dallas which they'll open on October 19. They offer Dole Whip in the original pineapple as well as a rotating flavor.
California-based frozen yogurt chain was early on the Dole Whip front, and serves it at all of its stores, including eight stores in the DFW area from Allen to Plano to Fort Worth, in the original pineapple flavor only.
Pineapple Grill Texas
Pineapple Grill was founded in 2017 as a food trailer and catering company before expanding to a brick-and-mortar restaurant at 121 E Harwood Rd. in Hurst in December 2018. They're Hawaiian-owned and -operated, and take great pride in the authenticity of their Hawaiian dishes, from plate lunches to Spam musubi, and of course Dole whip in the classic pineapple.
New York-based poke chain has two DFW locations — one at The Hill in Dallas, and the other at the Richardson Restaurant Park at746 S Central Expy. — and they've done a good job at prevailing beyond the poke trend with poke, bowls, wraps, and salads, all healthy, all satisfying. They serve pineapple Dole Whip, plain or with an optional sprinkle of ground red chile pepper.
Fast-casual restaurant in Frisco doing poke, salad, and rice bowls is from husband-and-wife John and Sophia Kim. They're doting and conscientious, from the care they take in preparing the food to serving complimentary miso soup if you dine in. They have pineapple Dole Whip soft serve in a generous 9-ounce portion for only $3. Come for the Dole Whip, stay for dinner.
Adorable tiki bar at 1802 Greenville Ave. serves rum classics like mai tais, plus fun drinks for two served in the hollowed-out shell of a fresh pineapple. There's also a menu of serving Polynesian/Hawaiian food such as pork, Spam, and chicken katsu, but also edamame dip with taro chips and, the reason we're here, Dole Whip, in the pineapple flavor.