The Sugar Shack
Local Brothers Open New Ice Cream Trailer In Bargersville
Writer / Matt Keating
Photographer / Amy Payne
Nate Johnson believed there was an ice cream shortage in Bargersville, so he did something about it.
Johnson co-owns The Sugar Shack with his brother, Keith Johnson. They also own the highly successful Johnson’s BBQ Shack, also located at 82 South Baldwin Street.
“My stepdaughter, Sophia, loves ice cream, and since we often visit all the local ice cream shops, we knew there was a shortage of options in Bargersville,” Johnson says. “People ask for desserts with their BBQ all the time (at the BBQ Shack), and we thought this would be a good fit. We already have a great patio and deck to enjoy the ice cream on.”
Johnson noted that the Sugar Shack, a custom-built trailer, is owned and operated as part of Johnson’s BBQ Shack. He enjoys the mobile Sugar Shack and taking his delicious fare on the road.
“We take the trailer to do catering jobs, providing both BBQ and ice cream,” Johnson says. “We like taking the trailer to other sites before we open at the restaurant.”
Customers at the Sugar Shack have been lining up to enjoy the cool treats.
“We do soft serve from a Taylor Machine with a flavor burst which allows us nine flavors,” Johnson says. “We also provide toppings.”
The nine flavors are Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry, Banana Split, Cool Mint, Peanut Butter, Cheesecake, Butter Pecan and Blue Raspberry.
Business at Johnson’s BBQ Shack has also grown dramatically since they opened in February 2016, after originally starting as a food truck in 2011.
Johnson’s BBQ Shack is a true smokehouse, where they use mostly hickory wood. It’s what gives their meats a distinct smoky flavor and smoke ring, without the use of gas or electric heat.
Johnson stressed that the Sugar Shack has been a strong added component to Johnson’s BBQ Shack.
“The feedback so far has been positive,” Johnson says. “We have been open since July 19. I think the two favorite flavors right now are the banana split and the strawberry cheesecake.”
Johnson enjoys meeting new customers and old friends at both The Sugar Shack and Johnson’s BBQ. He and his brother, Keith, both graduated from Center Grove High School. They are raising their families in Center Grove, and also support several Johnson County schools and businesses.
“We also sponsor, all year round, many of the local youth sports, community groups and more,” Johnson says. “To name a few, we sponsor South Central Soccer Academy, Center Grove Bantam Football, Riley Children’s Hospital, Center Grove and Honey Creek Baseball. A lot of charities get donations and gift cards from us for silent auctions and other things.”
Johnson loves his work.
“I enjoy having a schedule that, at times, gives me the flexibility to spend family time,” Johnson says. “We also have some of the best employees, and everyone works like a family here. It’s more than just a job for our staff. It’s something I can tell they are proud to be a part of. They are excited to watch us grow and to grow with us.”
Johnson also believes the Center Grove and Bargersville communities continue to respond favorably to the great food and atmosphere at Johnson’s BBQ Shack and Sugar Shack.
“We are very proud of the family atmosphere at our store in Bargersville, and we think adding the ice cream just builds on that,” Nate says. “So, bring your family and let our family serve you.”