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Ice cream truck popular stop at First and Main streets in Pratt

Fran Brownell
Pratt Tribune
Yum Truck 56 crew, from right, Craig Clifton, Sarah Clifton, Mylee Gerber and Westyn Clifton are bringing creamy churned ice cream to Pratt area fans of their delicious frozen dairy concoctions, serving cones and more from a repurposed 1956 Ford Vanette. Business hours at their location in the former KFC parking lot at First and Main are 2 to 9 p.m. weekends and catering services are also available.

Sometimes a name says it all. The Clifton family of Pratt hope their customers will agree with their new business moniker, Yum Truck 56!

According to Craig Clifton, owner of an old, but new ice cream truck that often parks at the corner of 1st and Main streets in Pratt, Yum is for, well, yummy! And 56 is for the model year of the 1956 Ford Vanette, repurposed as an ice cream wagon.

Ice cream connoisseurs Craig and Sara Clifton--assisted by Craig’s teenage son Westyn and their teenage Sawyer neighbor Mylee Gerber—serve creamy churned ice cream in 20 flavors ranging from vanilla to lemon (Craig’s favorite) from their refurbished 1956 Ford Vanette Yum Truck, which carries the official approval of the Kansas Department of Agriculture Mobile Food Unit Division of Food Safety.

The Yum Truck 56 crew spent most of the month of August remodeling the vintage recreational van into a streamlined mobile ice cream stand.

Yum Truck 56 opened for business in Pratt on August 22 at First and Main in the parking lot of the former Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant.

Hours are from 2 to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and seasonal holidays and the Cliftons also offer catering services.

“We can serve up 365 flavors of ice cream, one for every day of the year,” Craig said. “We’re always willing to try new ones—like coconut mango, which was a challenge, but now on our menu. We’ll be open until the weather just gets too cold.”

The Yum Truck freezer will hold eight flavors at a time, so the menu varies weekly, with mainstays of vanilla, chocolate, strawberry.

For Labor Day weekend the flavors were raspberry, strawberry, lemon, peach, chocolate, vanilla, cookies ‘n cream and non-dairy peach.

The Cliftons use a 15,000 watt Honda generator to power-crank 20-quart freezers in 30 minutes.

“Two 20-quart freezers make all the ice cream,” Craig said.

In addition to cones, Yum Truck 56 also offers floats and sundaes, along with take-home quarts.

Craig’s love of ice cream dates back to his childhood in rural western Ohio when his grandfather got lemon ice cream through the local dairy delivery.

Craig said he loved the lemon ice cream and when an old hand-crank White Mountain churn came up at a farm auction, he bought it and then began looking for recipes for lemon ice cream to match his childhood treat.

“I kept looking and experimenting with recipes and I finally got it right in 2005,” Craig said.

Thus began Craig’s love affair with creamy churned treats.

Customers can keep up with Yum Truck 56 through its social media sites: Facebook, Instagram and Snap Chat.