WILLISTON PARK, New York -- For many people, Mister Softee's ice cream truck jingle is the soundtrack of a New York summer, but for one Long Island man, it's much more than that - it's a muse for a new business idea.
No, Army Reserve Sgt. Joseph O'Brien did not go out and buy a Mister Softee truck, but he did get his hands on a truck just the same from which he now sells doughnuts and coffee.
O' Brien, along with his wife Gina, and neighbors Ryan and Laura Schneider opened Vice Doughnut and Coffee food truck on National Doughnut Day this past June.
"All of our doughnuts are cake doughnuts, which to me personally pair so much better with coffee and tea," said O'Brien. "It's just a marriage made in heaven, the cake doughnut, and the coffee."
He sells 14 types of doughnuts, with top flavors including banana cookie crumb, blueberry lemon, black and white cookie, and the unicorn doughnut topped with cotton candy.
Like most food trucks, Vice is often parked at festivals, street fairs, and high foot traffic events.
However, unlike most food trucks, Vice takes a page from the ice cream man's playbook. The Vice truck drives around Long Island, bringing its high-quality third-wave coffee and artisanal doughnuts possibly to your own neighborhood or even doorstep.
"To bring that different aspect to the public is awesome," said O'Brien. "Bringing it to the parks where there's soccer games, football games, and I can drive to certain businesses and bring coffee and doughnuts right to their door."
O'Brien also sees his business as a way to give opportunities to other veterans to pursue their dreams. Many of these young veterans are at a loss with what to do with their lives when they return home.
"They are told what to do since day one and when they get out when they are 23, 24, 25 they really don't know what route to take," said O' Brien, who wants to offer Vice franchises so that other veterans can operate trucks, too.
"I would like to offer that route for veterans that are coming home or coming off active duty," said O'Brien. "To have something available for them when they get home, an option to take."
Contact Community Journalist Alex Ciccarone