Kitchener-Waterloo

From ice cream to hot dogs, warmer weather brings summer foods back: Andrew Coppolino

For most of the year they are shuttered and dark. But when the warmer weather finally returns, there's a smorgasbord of food stands and take-away joints open up to serve customers.

Here's a list of food outlets which only open for the longer days and warmer temperatures

From ice cream stands and French fry counters to slightly larger venues serving a wider range of snacks and treats.

Seasonal eateries in and around Waterloo region are slowly opening for business, and although it might be hard to tell given the current cooler weather, they are harbingers of summer.

From ice cream stands and French fry counters to slightly larger venues serving a wider range of snacks and treats, here's a selected list of food outlets which only open for the longer days and warmer temperatures of southwestern Ontario. 

I've left rolling food trucks for another column.

Note that menus are not always up-to-date online and business hours may be inconsistent due to weather. Also, if you can hit all of these places over the course of the summer, I'd love to hear!

Ice cream

You'll find Christopher's Gelato at several locations where it is brought in during the traditional ice cream months: that includes Matter of Taste, Local Renaissance Café in Elmira and the Village Olive Grove in Elora.

Christopher's Gelato can also be found at Herrle's Country Farm Market in St. Agatha, scheduled to open in June.

The Scoop du Jour truck has settled into its usual location at 21 Dupont St. in uptown Waterloo. They specialize in sourcing unique and small-batch ice cream from many Ontario producers.

"Our goal is to provide a wide variety of interesting ice creams that are not found in the immediate area. We are also always on the lookout for good vegan ice cream too," says owner Ryan Good.

The menu changes frequently and includes ice cream sandwiches and floats. Open daily until 10 p.m.

You can order No Udder vegan and natural ice cream online throughout the year, but their scooping counter will open on June 1 at their new location at 43 Water Street N in Cambridge.

The caboose at 301 Water St. S. in Cambridge is home to Indulge Ice Cream from now until September, as weather permits.

There are 30 rotating flavours with waffle cones made on-site. And there's a feature called "Milkshake Sundays."

The popular Four-all Ice Cream is available at more than two dozen area stores and restaurants. The ice cream is still available at Graffiti Market but they're no longer scooping at their Whitney Place facility. Good news, though: look for a new pop-up this summer in downtown Kitchener in a vacated space beside Carl Zehr Square at Kitchener's city hall.

Bluewater Creamery is available at Guelph Farmers' Market year-round, but they are at the Aberfoyle Antique Market now until October. I have to ask: is there anything more quaint than antiquing and eating ice cream?

The classic poutine — crisp fries, hot gravy and fresh cheese curds — has become a national icon. (Olya Krasavina/La Poutine Week)

Fries, burgers and hot dogs

David's Fries is a walk-up hut located at 36 Lancaster St. W. at Breithaupt which serves the infamous Newfoundland Fries with peas, gravy and "dressing."

A few picnic tables outside, Quick Stop Fries in Elmira is at 20 Arthur St. N. and serves fresh-cut fries but also the popular peameal bacon cheeseburger, says owner Mark Fuchka.  

Mid-way between New Hamburg and Stratford is the hamlet of Shakespeare where you'll find The Tin House – Line 34 at James Street – serving fries, burgers, pulled pork, poutine and fish and chips.

Paul Zuzan liked the food at the Pit Stop Grill so much he bought the business. Located in the parking lot adjacent to The Fishing Store at 1572 Victoria St. N. in Kitchener, Zuzan has been serving sausages, fish and chips and gyros since 2007.

"We do a good lunch business and hope we can be open this weekend, weather permitting," Zuzan says.

Look for the red roof that offers coverage from the sun and rain as you're waiting in line. This spot is open at 11 a.m. until early evening until about October.

L.A. Frank's — the name has to do with family names, not the city — is a small stone building alongside the river at 104 Water Street North in Cambridge and has been a popular summer destination for years.

It's a hotspot for burgers, freshly cut fries, milkshakes and quarter-pound hot dogs in about eight variations. Generally, this Cambridge institution is open until September.

Here's a confusing one: Wesley's, which used to be Pixie's, is the food hut at 2067 Victoria St. N., near Breslau that is Victoria Homemade Burgers.

I can't vouch for the burgers, but when I visited I saw them cutting potatoes for the fries. They also serve shawarma, kebabs, gyros and sujuk sausage.

Larger venues

The Boathouse in Victoria Park Kitchener is now open. There's a larger menu and live music inside, of course, but I think sitting lakeside on the patio is a very nice way to spend a warm evening.

Maybe a spotting of Otis and Ophelia the swans is in the offing?

Jack Burger at 45 Duke St. W. at Ontario Street in Kitchener opens May 21. It's a quirky little place, but many people love the burgers and the urban patio.

Take a walk along the Spurline Trail in Waterloo, where the new Café Pyrus Outpost at 150 Roger St. is serving vegan gelato from Christopher's Gelato and cones from Dansig.

They also have iced coffee cappuccino, lattes, nitro cold brew on tap and kombucha on tap.

Rocky's Drive-in Guelph claims fame with foot-long hot dogs. It's located at 250 Elizabeth St. near York Road. Lots of outdoor seating available.

Ice Cream 2 is open for summer in the plaza at 1401 River Rd. E. When fully stocked, they will have four dozen ice creams, along with sorbets and vegan options.

Check them out for sundaes, apple fritters, funnel cakes, and … wait for it … deep-fried chocolate.

Ambrosia Corner Bakery re-starts its popular "Truck Eats-Cool Treats" summer food-event series. They serve their house-made ice cream, cones and waffles and host a lineup of different food trucks each Thursday from now until late July, beginning at 4 p.m. Ambrosia is located on Frederick Street just about at East Avenue in the Central-Fred neighbourhood.

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