Introducing: Cool Hand Luc, King West’s new ice cream parlour

Introducing: Cool Hand Luc, King West’s new ice cream parlour

Owner Luc Essiambre mans the counter at his eponymous ice cream shop (Image: Gizelle Lau) 

King Street West has seen a lot of action this month, with the revamp of Brassaii’s menu, the closing of M:brgr, the opening of WVRST and now the launch of its first ice cream shop, Cool Hand Luc, which opened on June 3 with free samples for all. Behind the counter at the new shop, cleverly named after the Paul Newman flick Cool Hand Luke, is the affable Luc Essiambre (whose nickname growing up was, of course, “Cool Hand Luc”). After spending 15 stressful years in logistics for the aviation industry, Essiambre decided that he’d had enough and began working in an ice cream shop, serving scoops and mastering the art of making it from scratch.

Essiambre and business partner Shereef Shiaty opened the shop to create a friendly space for the neighbourhood’s residents (themselves included) to hang out away from the adult-oriented pub and club options on King West. Behind the design of the place is Pilot Interactive, whose fantastical, sugar-rush artwork is on display on the shop’s back wall. The colourful mural features pretzels bathing in a river of ice cream, evil, laughing peanut butter cups, sunbathing bananas and pink ice cream puffs puking up rainbow sprinkles (no, we didn’t make that up).

In the interests of opening at the peak of ice cream season, Essiambre opted to use the high-quality, 15 per cent cream product by Kawartha Dairy (it’s locally produced and delivered from Bobcaygeon every other day) instead of making his own. If all goes to plan, he’ll be offering his own product in about a year. Also on offer at Cool Hand Luc are sorbets by Montreal’s Solo Fruit, made from 100 per cent natural fruit, with no added sugars, dairy, gluten, eggs or fat.

From 11 a.m. until closing (11 p.m. on weekdays, 2 a.m. on weekends), there are 24 flavours of ice cream, including chocolate peanut butter, chocolate cherry cheesecake and birthday cake, as well as eight sorbets, like raspberry, mango and passion fruit. After opening at slightly higher price points, Essiambre has settled at $2.43 for a kiddie scoop, $3.50 for a regular scoop, $6.14 for two and $7.44 for three, all generously doled out in regular cake cones, sugar cones and waffle cones ($0.75 extra) with a variety of toppings ($0.50 for sprinkles, $0.75 for other toppings). Homemade waffle cones, milkshakes, smoothies and sundaes are all on the way.

Once peak cone season is behind them, Cool Hand Luc will serve a smaller selection of ice creams and bring in a range of soups and stews beginning in September.

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Cool Hand Luc, 545 King St. W.,