Located on the main road going in and out of the town, this is the most well known ice cream place in the small town of Thetford Mines. It only opened last Thursday in time for the sunnier days ahead, it closes every year for the winter season. Given that you order outdoors and that ice cream isn’t the greatest in cold weather, it makes sense to offer their wares in tune with the sun. Large snow banks continued to line the roads, black ice was prominent on colder nights; and the residents travelled cozy in down jackets, toque, gloves, and boots. The snow wasn’t going anywhere the first week of April, but the sun was definitely warming faces and bodies enough for a cold treat. Though for those not ready they offered hot fast food as well.
The restaurant is on a large lot with plenty of parking in the front and even more at the back. With rows of outdoor picnic tables, and a separate building just for eating in, you could tell this place gets busy. I was informed from experience, that during their peak in summer the lot is normally full, there are crowds gathered around each table, and there is often a line just to grab a seat in doors. The seating area was in a separate building to the side. It was warm like a green house and looked like one with the artificial greenery strung around.
You order from under the covered area. Their kitchen and the hub of operations is behind a row of counters and windows. Today was slow, the traffic was low, and all the orders were taken from just one open counter. However as soon as the weather improves and the bodies start making the trip out, multiple windows are opened up for better service and quicker delivery. Today you approach and a staff member on the other side pulls open their glass window. My partner remembered the staff servicing us today. They were the same individuals that he had seen on the otherwise of the same window ten years ago.
You make your choice from their posted menu, in coloured photos and in French print. A different menu on either sides of the restaurant eludes to their normal process of separating hot and savoury from cold and sweet. On the right, your standard fast food offerings like wings, corn dogs, burgers, sandwiches, and fries. And savoury items specific to Quebec cuisine like the hot chicken sandwich coated in gravy and topped with peas; and the ever popular poutine with real homemade cheese curds.
On the left, desserts. All soft serve ice cream, but with enough variations to compete with its salty counter part/menu. Sundaes and Parfaits topped with their own list of ingredients and given their own name with photo to match. “Strawberry shortcake” with actual cake bits, “banana splits” made with two whole ripe bananas, and the “carres au chocolat” was a tower of soft served accompanied by enough chocolate brownies to share with a group. The “souriceau” aka “baby mouse” was the most visually appealing. It was named after its resemblance to mice. Head of mice made edible with Oreo ears, gumdrop eyes, and a mini cone for its pointy noise. They were just missing the candy rope or twizzlers for whiskers.
This tray of hotdogs, onion rings, and orange drink came to about $6.70. That’s the small town life and prices for you.
The hot dog was grilled and dressed with mayonnaise and ketchup. The regular pork wiener was sandwiched between what looked like a cross between a hot dog bun and toast. Both sides of the bun was void of crust. Pressed flat, it had the grill marks to prove it. Taste wise it was simply salty. I could not enjoy more than one bite, but my partner being use to the cuisine lapped it up.
The onion rings were fried to order. They were a golden brown crisp with the grease to prove it. Like the hot dog before, it was good but standard.
For dessert we had to have their ice cream. The miniature (“micro”) chocolate soft serve cone was fairly large, even with it being the size smaller than small.
And by comparison this small dipped cone looked like a large. This was a maple twist soft serve cone, dipped in chocolate. Coated in milk chocolate with a pocket of caramel in the centre and even more caramel intermingled on the twist itself. This was sweet. I have never declared an ice cream too sweet for me to finish, this would be my first. I should have just ordered plain vanilla. I am quickly learning that, if it is salty it is really salty. And if it is sweet it is really sweet. There is no in between.
Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this for someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
Truth be told, there isn’t much going around town and as the most noticeable ice cream place and the most accessible fast food lot, you will eventually find yourself visiting here for either of the two. A stand up place for your standard carnival and ball park fare. They just need to get their serving licence to be able to offer beer. Nothing like beer or wings, beer and a burger, or beer and anything deep fried. Plus beer is almost as refreshing as ice cream on a hot summer’s day. Don’t deny your cravings.