Hidden Gem

Austin's first vegan milkshake truck is out of this world

Austin's first vegan milkshake truck is out of this world

Milky Way Shakes
Milky Way's shakes look as good as they taste. Milky Way Shakes/ Facebook

It’s rare to find a friend who will stick with you through the years, and even more rare to find one who will move across the country to open a business with you. But that’s exactly the type of friendship Moni Burgin and Rachel Horesovsky have kindled, now that they’ve partnered to open Austin’s first vegan milkshake truck.

They’ve known each other since childhood in North Carolina. As they grew up, they remained close. After Burgin followed Horesovsky to Washington, D.C. for college, Horesovsky got a job at a chocolatier where Burgin worked. Recently, the pair jumped at the chance to move to Austin, sparked by Burgin's crazy idea. Or maybe not so crazy, because it turns out that Austin was practically begging for vegan shakes.

When the vegetarian pair finally decided on making milkshakes instead of hocking kolache or hot chocolate or any of the other ideas they considered, they were planning to make regular shakes, plain and simple. But the local plant-based community proposed a question: If they were going to do milkshakes, wouldn’t dairy-free shakes be just as easy? After all, Austin is famous for its thriving vegan scene.

Thus, Milky Way Shakes was born. An early 2016 Kickstarter campaign helped the duo raise $10,000 in a month for startup costs and a truck, which ended up taking a year-and-a-half to fix. “It needed a lot more work than we realized,” Burgin says.

It required fixing and re-fixing leaky roofs, learning a lot about plumbing, and hours of laying tile, all while they held down full-time jobs elsewhere. In the end, they had a trailer they were proud of and a business they couldn’t wait to open, plus, of course, a home-churned recipe for delicious coconut ice cream that is the base for all their shakes.

But these aren't your grandmother’s milkshakes. Milky Way isn’t just slinging classic flavors like chocolate or vanilla (though are the two bases); they also have crafted creative artisan flavors that will make any dessert lover salivate.

If they had to pick a favorite, it would be a new concoction called the Buzz Aldrin, which is a coffee-flavored shake sprinkled with hazelnut toffee. But their seasonal Cherry Supernova, complete with brandy-cherry compote, fudge sauce, freeze-dried cherries, and edible gold stars, is a close second. Naturally you can be sure the shakes will not only taste good, but look stellar, too. “We believe in putting glitter on everything,” says Burgin.

Regular flavors are no less impressive. The Oreo Borealis contains mint, Oreos, and homemade hot fudge. The Star-Berry Lemon Cloud is filled with lemon curd and strawberry compote and topped with vegan meringue, all house-made. They’re even dressing their popular meringues by forming them into snowmen to be sold by the dozen (or to grace the top of the spiced date caramel and bourbon-filled December-only egg nog shake).

The trailer opened in September at Spider House Cafe on Fruth Street, and Burgin and Horesovsky are enjoying self-employment as besties immensely. “It’s been totally magical,” Horesovsky says.

For now, Burgin and Horesovsky say they can’t imagine doing anything else — at least until they settle on kolache or hot chocolate for their next food truck.