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.
8 thoughts on “Introducing: Cool Hand Luc, King West’s new ice cream parlour”
Got me a double scoop of strawberry and banana the other day, was delicious! Congrats on the new parlour guys, will definitely be back for more.
This hood needs a late-night ice cream hang out! These boys serve smiles with their cones :)
I have been once and I hope for dear life that this place keeps going strong! This area desperately needs an ice cream joint. “NEEDS”. There are so many bars and clubs, but nowhere to go, pick up a cone and carry on with your evening stroll. Having said that, any chance for a few chairs outside the shop?
I have read some trashing over the prices on some other website. But I have to say, considering the prices for drinks in this neighbourhood, I wouldn’t think that a $3.50 scoop is going to hurt.
I will definitely be back. And bring my friends.
Hey – thanks for the review. I am a total ice cream junkie and have walked by this place a few times before realizing it was an ice cream stop!! Ack! Finally went in for a few samples – I think it was the owner, he was very generous in letting me taste the flavours. They were not bad, but it just didn’t do it for me. Texture was not as creamy as I’d hoped? If I’m going to splurge on ice cream for my big treat of the week, it has to be worth it. I actually had to walk away from this ice cream :-( because it didn’t satisfy my “ice cream craving”. Maybe the temperature was off, or the flavouring didn’t have that real ‘homemade’ taste? I am sure this stuff will work with the crew that stumbles around after a night of clubbing, but any sober connoisseur will likely skip a second scoop.
“Maybe the temperature was off, or the flavouring didn’t have that real ‘homemade’ taste?”
Well, the post specifically mentions that they’re serving mass-produced Kawartha stuff rather than making their own ice cream. Which basically means that it might be a nice neighbourhood place if you happen to be walking by, but it’s not worth going out of your way for.
It’s too bad; the city definitely needs more great ice cream places. We’ve got Greg’s, and Ed’s, and… that’s pretty much it.
Michael, have you been to Summer’s or Xococava? They are both excellent – better than Greg’s in my opinion, and I haven’t yet been to Ed’s so I can’t speak to that.
I *have* to stop in for ice cream if I’m walking by. Luc is awesome.
Not only their ice cream is delicious. They also serve delicious soups and make grilled cheese sandwiches to die for! People there, including Luc are really really nice people. check out their facebook page as they sometimes give out 2×1 coupons.
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