There has been much buzz circulating this ice cream shoppe. After calling ahead to confirm they closed at 10pm we sped towards West 4th. Our destination to be delayed by an inaccurate GPS and the unexpected event of the Khatsahlano Street Party. A block party that had the area blocked off, the traffic ridden to a crawl, and parking spots in high demand. Nonetheless we reached our goal 30 minutes to close and waited in line for 20.
Not being able to find it immediately we saw a large grouping and then people gathering, so followed the trail of those with cones in hand and smiles on lips. We ended up joining a line that reached out the door, and wound past neighbouring stores. A line that everyone deemed worth the wait, and were unsatisfied to leave for the scoops sold from their travel ready ice cream cart out front. I contemplated this short cut, but didn’t want to give up my chance to try samples of their unique flavours, only available inside. Where only chocolate, cracked mint, and waffle maple berry were offered here. So back in line we waited. It was well past their reported 10pm closure by the time we had gotten our treat. We had come and gone and the staff were still rounding out scoops in cones and cups.
When we finally got to the door way we could smell the scent of freshly baked waffle cones. That warming buttery aroma reminded us what we were willing to wait for. Though for those wanting to skip the line, a sign on the counter suggested customers grab a bucket of prepackaged ice cream to go. The flavours were all labeled and arranged in the smaller glass freezer behind the counter.
Their trademark logo is a white scoop of ice cream on top of a bright yellow cone. It was painted on their ice cream cart, hanging from their awning, stamped on the back of their business cards, and dropped upside down on the forehead of a cow. The extra point made their cow bust look like an ice cream unicorn. Like the awning, their ice cream cart, and their sandwich boards the cow too was purple.
Inside the space is small. A simple decor of yellow milk jugs and wooden pegs protruding from the wall. They proudly advertised their local suppliers on a chalk board and boasted the fresh, natural, and sustainable nature of their in house made ice cream by way of 3D sign. Towards the end of the shop, pass the glass window you get a gander at the back of house process. Their stainless steel equipment and paper buckets waiting to be filled.
Limited seating suggests the destination was more pay and go. A few swiveling stools crafted with yellow bicycle seats stood facing out the front window; a few chairs paired around two top tables; and three lowered stools placed awkwardly by the cash desk, their proximity and lack of space meant they went unseated. Like us, the majority of their guests choose to take the treat on the road. With ice cream in hand we took a stroll on this warm evening. Had we been able to grab a table and stay I would have grabbed one of their ice cream flights. The opportunity to try four flavours in four cups, presented on an ice cream cone shaped wooden paddle. Very clever. They also have a Tuesday special where their homemade waffle cones are shaped into tacos then filled with scoops of ice cream and sprinkled with your choice of toppings.
The menu was an extensive hand written list that spanned the length of their counter. Depending on where you stood your view was obstructed and you needed to be up front to have anything legible. So no way of deciding before you reach the counter. Though with the line snaking around there was plenty of time to change your mind before you ordered. The “Keepers” were their all year round flavours: chocolate, vanilla, salted caramel, coffee toffee, London fog, honey lavender, blueberry balsamic, peanut butter, coconut chocolate, and cracked mint. The “Seasonal flings” came and went with the availability of ingredients: strawberry cheesecake, waffle maple berry, raspberry coconut (vegan friendly), dry hopped (citra), and brassneck English brown ale. I chose to sample the brown ale and found it surprisingly good. The taste of an ale with what I want my ice cream to be.
They also used their scratch made ice cream to create sundaes, shakes, and specials. Using toppings like a red wine reduction, toffee brittle, a seasonal berry compote, warm caramel sauce, hot fudge sauce, buckwheat honey, candied hazelnuts, eureka lemon olive oil, and a fig balsamic. Their whole offering was very grown up. Ice cream crafted and created for a mature palette that remains a child at heart.
Four members of staff worked behind the bar, each with a store grabbed or ice cream logo-ed purple or white apron; one such suggested, “get(ting) your lick on”. This band doled out samples and dug out ice creams by the scoops. A single with one flavour, a single with two, or just two scoops of two different flavours. With cone in hand you proceed to pay at the register towards the other end. Here there are cleverly created and conveniently placed blocks to rest your ice cream in. A stump with four circular holes allowing your cone and three others to sit upright on their own accord. This is in case you haven’t any friends with you and are in need of both hands to pay.
Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it again? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this for someone visiting from out of town? – No.
Who really has anything bad to say about ice cream? And who can really hate a place that supports local businesses and is one themselves? Their flavours are fun: enough tried and tested classics and inventive seasonals to keep everyone coming back for more. Their catering to a more adult palette sets them apart. Grown up ice cream flavours like balsamic, coffee, and tea served as a flight with even more mature toppings like buckwheat, wine, and olive oil. The above doesn’t even sound like something a child would want to consider trying. And as the only ice cream parlour in the area, offering vegan and gluten free options they are doing pretty well for themselves. Now they just need to make a lactose free alternative to have this be the destination of anyone with any dietary restrictions wanting ice cream. Maybe even a low calorie, fat free version? Don’t deny your cravings.