toronto, cool hand luke, ice cream

Cool Hand Luc makes ice cream a hot item in Toronto

toronto, cool hand luke, ice cream

Luc is always cool but especially when serving up ice cream in Toronto. ©Julia Pelish Photography

Story courtesy of Adrian Brijbassi

TORONTO — Luc Essiambre is the latest entrepreneur to give King Street West a little scoop of happiness. Earlier this year, he started serving up ice cream at Cool Hand Luc, a lower-level shop a block and a half east of Bathurst that adds some wholesomeness to this clubby neighbourhood.

He said he doesn’t drink alcohol, which meant that “at night the only people walking the streets were me and the homeless.” He opened Cool Hand Luc in the same building where he lives at 545 King West to give the area something different as well as a place everyone can enjoy.

And who doesn’t enjoy ice cream?

The grand opening on June 3 featured free tastings from his selection of premium ice cream, frozen yogourt and sorbet. Luc gets his ice cream from Bobcaygeon, Ontario-based Kawartha Dairy and works with the distributor to deliver the flavours he wants. The vegan-friendly sorbets come from a distributor in Montreal.

“I worked in the ice cream business for six years, so I know what flavours sell,” Essiambre said after handing over a cone topped with a scoop of Wolf Paws (vanilla ice cream with chocolate butter fudge and brownie pieces … yeah, it was yum — and it’ll sell).



Essiambre said he eventually will transition to making his own ice cream, but for now wanted to make sure he could get the best product he could into his freezer, which is why he went with Kawartha Dairy, a family-owned company that’s been around for 74 years.

At Cool Hand Luc, a single scoop with a cone is $3.50, a double scoop $6.14 and a triple scoop $7.44. A kiddie scoop comes in at about $2.50. The store’s open daily from 11 a.m. til late, which is probably around 9 p.m. or so. In winter, it will offer soups, as well as keep some bins of ice cream around.

These are just some of the roughly two-dozen choices at Cool Hand Luc (as listed by Kawartha Dairy on its website):

DEATH BY CHOCOLATE: Chocolate ice cream with bittersweet dark chocolate chunks and thick chocolate twister sauce.

GOLD MEDAL RIBBON: French Vanilla-flavoured ice cream folded into chocolate ice cream and swirled with Old English Toffee.

KODIAK ISLAND FUDGE: Vanilla ice cream with chewy Talkeetna fudge pieces and swirled with Kodiak Island fudge.

BLUE BUBBLEGUM: Loads of pink-coloured gum pieces in a bubblegum flavoured ice cream with a bright blue colour.

BIRTHDAY CAKE: White cake icing-flavoured ice cream filled with rainbow chocolatey chips and a blue marshmallow ribbon.

CARAMEL SNAPPERS: Caramel-filled chocolate turtles in toffee-flavoured ice cream twirled with thick English Toffee.

Location: 545 King Street West, Toronto (between Spadina Avenue and Bathurst Street)
Hours: 11 a.m. to late (typically 9 p.m. or later)

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Adrian is the editor of and Adrian has won numerous awards for his travel writing, travel photography, and fiction, and has visited more than 55 countries. He is a former editor at the Toronto Star and New York Newsday, and was the social media and advocacy manager for Destination Canada. His articles have frequently appeared in the Huffington Post, Globe & Mail, and other major publications. He has appeared on national and local broadcasts, talking about travel, sports, creative writing and journalism. In 2019, he launched Trippzy, a travel-trivia app developed to educate consumers about destinations around the world. He also edited "Inspired Cooking", a nutrition-focused cookbook featuring 20 of Canada's leading chefs and in support of the cancer-fighting charity, InspireHealth. "Inspired Cooking" was created in honour of Adrian's late wife and co-founder, Julia Pelish, who passed away of brain cancer in 2016.

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