A Unique Spin On a Roadside Stand
Some things even COVID-19 can’t stop from happening – like enjoying the taste of a freshly brewed iced tea.
So, even though there is a pandemic, Brett Silva and his fiancee Ashley Herron bravely opened Porch Swing Iced Tea in August, a mobile business that serves the delicious beverage and more, including childhood memories.
“I believe that our business is a breath of fresh air, and it’s a way for guests to enjoy something from their childhood with their grandparents,” Silva said. “Most restaurants across the nation aren’t operating at full capacity, and a majority of those places are inside-seating only. We are fortunate to only do to-go items where the guests have ample standing room for social distancing.”
Of course, like other places, they follow COVID-19 protocol with constant cleaning inside the trailer, as well as their own hands between guest interactions, and they wear masks. They also make sure all products are labeled with a time and date to ensure freshness and we comply with all food safety guidelines.
Mason Jars Of Sweet Tea & Lemonade Offer Refreshment & Summer Memories
“I truly feel that what we are doing is unique spin on a roadside stand, and serving a cold southern refreshment on a hot day touches the hearts of our guests by bringing back childhood memories,” he said. “That is the true reason we are doing this business, and we feel that it’s also the reason we’re doing so well during this pandemic.”
Silva said the idea came to them while traveling last year. They were enjoying their trip, but something was missing. Then, it hit them.
“We realized we never see sweet tea being sold out of any mobile food trucks or trailers. I thought to myself tea served in mason jars would be such a hit anywhere in the South,” he said. “I researched and ended up locally sourcing award-winning tea and decided to serve it in a southern-style package, complete with a name to mirror someone sitting on the porch swing drinking grandma’s sweet tea.”
A Business Inspired By Family
The logo, he said, is dear to his heart. It is a silhouette of a man, woman and child on a porch swing.
“Our son, Jackson, always points to it and says, ‘That’s my mama, dada and me!’ Every time I look at our logo, I see my family and it reminds me of why we started this business,” Silva said.
Aside from sweet or unsweet tea, they serve lemonade. You can add flavors as well to any of the drinks. They serve peach, strawberry, mango and raspberry flavors. They can also make the ever-popular Arnold Palmer, a mix of lemonade and tea.
Of course sweet tea is the top seller, but people have loved the strawberry sweet tea, he said, noting it is a subtle and surprisingly delicious combo. The other popular flavor is peach sweet tea or strawberry lemonade.
They sell out of a concessions trailer in Ellis County on the weekends, open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Currently, they sell in front of Master Craft Bodyworks, which Silva said has worked out excellently.
“Our customers have been awesome and we have had many repeat customers returning for refills, which we charge around $2 for, and sometimes they come twice a day,” Silva said. “”We are very grateful for their loyalty, and they have been going above and beyond by spreading our name on social media and word of mouth.””
Future Plans For Porch Swing Iced Tea
“We are going to sell in a neighboring town, Midlothian, in a housing community, and then at a bakery’s anniversary in October, and also at a wedding next summer. We eventually want to be selling a few days a week as well. People are continually asking for tea during the week so we know the demand is there.”
Brett and Ashley have been in the service industry as both servers and in management for over a decade each, so they knew a lot going into this business as far as restaurant and selling standards. He still works for his family business with his mother, Loreen Silva, which consists of corporate rental properties.
“I was working at a fine-dining steakhouse before COVID-19 hit and opted to finally leave the service industry just as COVID got worse and shut most all bars and restaurants down,” he said. “I took that as God telling me, ‘Brett, this is your time to follow through with your dream of opening your own business. Take the leap.'”
So he did. There’s nothing fancy, just a good ol’ fashioned treat served in a relaxing style.
“I prefer simple, and that’s exactly what this concept is. I purchased a fully-fabricated food trailer and sourced the award-winning tea, and figured out the packaging of the product and that was it,” he said. “All I needed after that was a quality tea brewer and a place to share our product with our community.
Winter Is Coming, But Porch Swing Plans To Keep Serving
“Eric, the owner of Master Craft, was gracious enough to let us set up on his property for now to see what traction we would get. Ovilla Road is the main road connecting two major cities and there are multiple cities around Ovilla, so we are in a pretty central area for drive-by business, as well as customers already knowing our location.”
Customers can come to the window and order either a 32-ounce mason jar or a 20-ounce kids sport bottle filled with porch swing sweet tea, unsweet tea, or lemonade with added flavor and relax in the rocking chairs under an umbrella. There is also a picnic table set out for the kids.
And yes, winter is around the corner, but he and Ashley are already preparing the change of season, he said.
“We anticipate selling winter beverages and bakery items. She has done cakes, cupcakes and cake balls for the past few years, so some of those will be added to the seasonal menu,” he said. “I am not sure as to what everything looks like just yet, but we will definitely still keep a menu that caters to southern staples, and will hopefully continue to tug on the hearts of our customers.”