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Ice Cream & Custards
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Location: Toronto, Ontario
I'd like to compile a list of dairy bars/ice cream parlours/soda fountains/lunch counters operated by dairies themselves. These would typically be adjacent to the actual dairy. I know of four:
1. Hewitt's Dairy Bar on Highway 6 just north of Hagersville. Great homespun atmosphere with a lunch counter as well as a dairy bar with sixty flavours of ice cream. Open 9:30 AM to 11:00 PM every day.
Hewitt's Dairy Bar
2. Reid's Dairy Store in Belleville. Operates as both a dairy bar and grocery store selling Reid's Dairy products together with bread, chips and whatever else can be offered at a good price. Reid's has a number of outlets in communities along the 401 north of Lake Ontario.
3. St. Clair Ice Cream, also known as Maple Leaf Dairy, operates an ice cream parlour at 2861 Danforth Avenue in Toronto. It's pretty spartan inside without any homespun atmosphere and seating capacity is limited. Scoop sizes are enormous though and St. Clair does a thriving business in the summers. I particularly like the sherbets.
4. Shaw's Dairy Bar on Highway 4 just north of Port Stanley. A local institution and a must for beach goers for decades! Not quite as homespun as Hewitt's but the attraction at Shaw's is the ice cream.
Shaw's Dairy Bar
Sadly, two of my other favourite dairy bars in the general area closed their doors for good in the past few weeks:
Steen's Dairy Bar and Grill in downtown Erin. A classic fourteen stool lunch counter that served Steen's ice cream including my favourite flavour, lime. It was a local institution dating back to the early part of the twentieth century and will be sorely missed.
The Stoney Creek Dairy operated an equally historic ice cream parlour at 135 King Street East in the Stoney Creek part of Hamilton. It was a very large operation that was mobbed in the summers leaving me wondering why it had to be closed.
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