To be clear: Barb’s the truck, Kori’s the driver.
Kori first started working for Lick last Spring when she took up driving Barb and she’s been working at the company’s Burnet location since it first opened. Originally from Houston, Kori came to Austin about four years ago. Clearly, ice cream is something Kori is passionate about: her first job was at an ice cream shop in high school and, even now, she likes to make ice cream at home, testing out flavor combinations she hasn’t seen elsewhere. One of her favorite things to include in her homemade ice creams are jalapenos.She tells me this with glee, grinning widely.
“Have you ever tried ice cream with jalapenos in it?” Kori asks as we sit casually outside of Lick’s production center. I have to admit to her that I haven’t, and she smiles even wider.
“Oh you gotta!” she says, “It is so, so good!”
Kori’s counterpart, Barb, is an ‘88 Chevy Stepvan with a heart of gold. If you’ve ever had an older diesel car, then you already know the deal with Barb. Barb is a bit of a bumpy ride, especially on the highway where the rattle of ice cream equipment in the back is almost deafening, but she’s always gonna get you where you need to go. Some people might say that she’s high maintenance, but we just think that Barb has a lot of character. I myself had an older diesel when I first started working at Lick named Hal. He was an ‘83 Mercedes with one side panel that was just a slightly different shade of gray-blue as the rest of him. For a long time Anthony and Chad, Lick’s founders, would ask any time they’d see me “Have you still got Hal?” They’d grin a little bit when they asked, probably thinking of the way you could always tell I was pulling into the shop by the rumbling sound the car made as it chugged along the gravel drive. In my early days at Lick, Hal as a character and a personality sort of became attached to me; we became a unit.
It’s the same with Kori and Barb, but where Barb is difficult, Kori is easy as can be. She’s got an infectious smile and a way of disarming you and getting you to drop your guard right away. It’s easy to immediately feel you’re friends with her. It’s no wonder she and Barb work so well together; opposites attract after all.
Though Kori also enjoys scooping at the shops, she says that driving Barb to events and scooping off-site is her favorite part of her job. Though driving a 14,000lbs ice cream van sounds exceptionally stressful to me, Kori says it’s surprisingly easy (though she did get lost going around the block the first time she took Barb out for a spin). People wave to Kori as she drives past them, recognizing Lick’s logo. Drivers, she says, are generally on their best behavior when they see her in Barb: they are far more likely to make room for her and slow down to let her change lanes than when she’s driving her own car.
It’s not always a two-person show with Barb and Kori though. Sometimes for larger events there can be two scoopers in the truck. I myself had the pleasure of scooping from inside of the truck last summer when Barb was rented out for a television show’s wrap party. Working in Barb is huge fun coming from the shops. It’s a tight space, even coming from the relatively small South Lamar shop.
Kori told me that, though she has found she loves food service in general, her work at Lick has been the job she has been the most passionate about. Kori says she cannot wait for Spring to come and wedding season to start. In the warmer months, when the truck is at its busiest, Kori loves pulling up to people’s office parties and weddings and seeing their faces light up.
“Everybody’s just so excited to see you. Who doesn’t get excited when they see an ice cream truck, you know?”