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Cool Hand Luc

Posted by Robyn Urback / Listed on June 7, 2011 / review policy

Cool Hand LucCool Hand Luc is a new ice cream shop bringing a bit of colourful glee to an otherwise sort of stiff and trendy stretch of King West. If there's any question as to its mirth; Luc's background mural includes a cartoon blob of ice cream vomiting a rainbow of Mike and Ikes. Enough said?

Cool Hand LucIn a lower-level space on King between Bathurst and Spadina, the new shop was named for its owner, Luc, who went by the name "Cool Hand Luc" as a kid. Previously working in aviation, Luc tells me he went through a career crisis of sorts a few years ago and took a job at an ice cream store outside of Toronto. He became devoted to the job, and decided to open up his own place here in the same building he actually lives.

Cool Hand Luc"This was two years in the making," Luc tells me. "There was nothing like this around here, and we really wanted to bring in something fun."

Cool Hand LucThe fun comes in several freezers, with flavours such as Chocolate Peanut Butter, Moose Tracks, Cotton Candy, Crème Brulee, Black Forest Cake and more, all sourced from Kawartha Dairy. Cool Hand Luc also has a variety of 100% all natural, fat-free, vegan fruit sorbets from a company in Montreal, which come in flavours such as Mango, Raspberry, and Lemon.

Cool Hand LucLuc says that toppings are on the way, but in the meantime, customers can opt for a kiddie scoop ($2.43), regular scoop ($3.76), two ($6.64) or three ($8.19) in a cup or a cone. I opt for a scoop of raspberry sorbet in a cup, which is rich both in colour and flavour. The size of the cup leaves some to be desired, however, but the sorbet is perfectly sweet (no sugar added), and just a little tart, with the odd raspberry seed kicking around for good measure.

While many ice cream shops in Toronto reduce their hours or shut down altogether during the winter months, Luc has an unconventional plan for keeping the lights on during December.

Cool Hand Luc"Soup," he tells me. "We already have the displays for it; just switch out the scoops for ladles." Cool Hand Luc plans to gradually replace some ice cream flavours with soup (supplier to be determined) as the weather gets cooler. "It's fast and to go, the same sort of concept."

But for now, Cool Hand Luc will be offering ice cream for the next couple of months (or more--*fingers crossed*) from 11 a.m. until late.

Cool Hand LucPhotos by Dennis Marciniak



woodentofu / June 7, 2011 at 10:05 am
Looks fantastic, but yowzah... $8.19 for 3 scoops? Luc's hand sure digs deep.
mrs potato / June 7, 2011 at 10:40 am
Last night, king st west was bustling ... Cool hand luc's was empty.


This place will NEVER survive.
He wants to do soup in the winter? Isn't that why you'd go to Ravi's?
Not to some place that does 'ice cream and soup'.

Remember Ben + Jerry's retail location at queen and john?
Nah, didn't think so!
wowzah replying to a comment from woodentofu / June 7, 2011 at 11:06 am
I couldn't agree more. we bought 10 and it was close to $40...also agree with the "won't survive comment due to it's pricey ice cream. Not THAT special.
Ally @ EatDrinkToronto / June 7, 2011 at 11:11 am
Noo Luc - do ice cream in the winter! Am I crazy, or is anyone else open to munging on ice cream when it's snowing out? Rain, snow, or shine. Ice cream is fine.
Bill / June 7, 2011 at 11:22 am
Yikes. Even if this is a great idea, and everybody needs ice cream on King St (unlikely) Luc sounds woefully in over his head.. Building where he happens to live? Toppings are "coming"? Supplier to be determined?

Bonne chance, Luc, but I'm afraid you haven't thought your plan through.
LDV / June 7, 2011 at 11:57 am
Plenty of folks with their faces pressed against the window before the shop opened yeseterday. Had a kiddie scoop yesterday, and it was great. Prices are outrageous, however. Do reconsider, kind ice-cream purveyor.
MORGA / June 7, 2011 at 12:21 pm
Excitement turned to disappointment extremely fast when reading about this place. Those prices are crazy for ice cream that isn't really one of a kind. A small batch artisan joint may have been a better idea for this area. Ice cream is quite easy to do well actually and him not making his own ice cream has limited this place creatively and I can buy Kawartha ice cream all over the GTA.
I'm not saying I won't try once because I live in the neighborhood, but it better be creamy, and it better be cold! (shaking fist).
O and by the way, Canadians eat ice cream all year round!
sdee / June 7, 2011 at 12:55 pm
Kawartha Dairy does make great ice cream, we grab a cone every now and then up in Muskoka.

But I've got sadly say the pricing is whack.

Lovin' the illustration behind the counter however.
icecreamlover / June 7, 2011 at 01:00 pm
Very high prices for flavours that you can find at the chain-type ice cream shops in the mall. The serving sizes are SMALL. The 1 scoop that I tried seemed more fit as a kiddie scoop. Good luck, but I personally won't be back...
MrPotato / June 7, 2011 at 01:18 pm
I'm sure I will give this place a try but I too am disapointed that they only have Kawartha Dairy ice cream. Not that Kawartha is bad but it is available at Fresh N' Wild for around $9 for a 1.5L tub.
Nicole / June 7, 2011 at 02:07 pm
Just sad he doesn't have rum raisin. I don't particularly like ice cream, but when I do crave it the only one I want is rum raisin :(
happyneighbour / June 7, 2011 at 03:09 pm
perfect ice cream weather! I enjoyed a death by chocolate cone from luc's this afternoon; the service was friendly and the ice cream serving plentiful. Just what the neighbourhood needed!
Cat / June 7, 2011 at 03:25 pm
It's pretty ordinary ice cream at extraordinary pricing. $4.25 for a measley scoop - for that price, I could have gone to Menchie's in the Annex and gotten more bang and toppings for my buck! Sorry Luc - I won't be returning.
jen / June 7, 2011 at 04:15 pm
I've been ignoring this place on my walk home from the gym. It's too bad that the flavours/brands aren't anything special and that the prices are so high. I'll stick to Greg's (available in the neighbourhood at White Squirrel)...the roasted marshmallow is to die for.
icecreamlover / June 7, 2011 at 08:57 pm
Excited to see an Ice Cream shop in the area where I work, sadly I usually don't have a hankering for ice cream during the day. Maybe that will change.

When I stuck my head in the door, it looked a bit unfinished and not very "king west" which is fine if the ice cream was their own (like Ed's Real Scoop or Greg's) but I don't think it is.

If it was a soft serve frozen yogurt joint - I'd probably be there the second it opens every day. Why hasn't anyone opened up a Pink Berry in Toronto yet?

The biggest thing that put me off was the ATM machine right when you come in - i'm assuming they don't take debit? So I want an Ice Cream, don't have cash - use the ATM, get charged $2 or more plus the cost of the ice cream....sounds like an expensive scoop.

T / June 7, 2011 at 09:30 pm
There's a Pink Berry (P.S my favourite froz yoghurt bar in NYC) knock-off at Queen and John (just north/beside the Starbucks on the corner)
Dr. Feelgood / June 7, 2011 at 09:38 pm
I'm going for sure tonight! I live about 15 mins away but Its nice to get out for a stroll especially when there's a reward in it for you. I'm not frightened by the prices- they don't sound too bad at all especially when you're paying $8-$10 just for a drink anywhere on King West, or most places in the city for that matter. Nobody compares those to the prices at the LCBO where you can get a beer for $2. Three or four dollars for a scoop sounds fine. I'm sure they have rent to pay.
I'm taking my girl. She wants to the the mural. I have such a craving for this.
torontoeats / June 7, 2011 at 10:01 pm
Yikes. Seriously? What's the point of this place? I walked by on my way home from work today and couldn't even bring myself to go in and order anything. Looks really dingy, which I might forgive if they actually offered something great. But Kawartha ice cream? I'd rather grab a Haagen Daas to-go from the Hasty Market (for less, to boot!) and skip the chance that there might be a hair in my ice cream. Good luck, cool hand.
CityBetty / June 7, 2011 at 10:38 pm
Finally made it in to Cool Hand Luc's! :)) I spent a few minutes admiring the characters on the mural before ordering. Hilarious!!! My fav was the scoop of ice cream playing a lolipop as a guitar. Ha! It was like getting away to a little candyland.
After that I had a hard time deciding on what flavour to chose so I sampled quite a few. After trying the Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake that was it for me - Delicious!!! I need it again.
It didn't hurt that Luc himself was serving me and was quite charming. Reminded me of a James Dean type in a classic ice cream parlour.
I almost got the guilt-free all-fruit raspberry sorbet, but the ice cream stole my heart.
Luc told me that they are always rotating the atypical flavours, to make sure that people can try everything.
All I can hope for is that they have the chocolate cherry cheesecake the next time I come back... and I will be back soon! -Thats for sure, and I hope Luc is there again ;)

p.s. torontoeats - you missed out. (you're not going to save too much on your possibly freezer burned Haagen-Daas. Where's the satisfaction in that??!

YAY Cool Hand Luc!!! Summer just got better!!! :)
Raiseydaisy / June 8, 2011 at 09:22 am
I love how folks are in an uproar about the price. Are you kidding me? How much do you all pay for your lattes and microbrews on King West? I checked it out and thought the decor, and more importantly the ice cream, was great. And yes, make sure you have some cash to avoid the ATM.
Jefaros / June 8, 2011 at 03:17 pm
Kind of have to agree with Raiseydaisey on this one.

prices are inflated all over TO, and King St West is no exception. I mean why pay $9 for a pint of Keiths at The Bier Markt when you can get a whole pitcher of it from The Bullocks for $12.

This may be hard to believe, but prices are different everywhere. Go where you want to go, pay what you want to pay. It's pretty simple.
Flocons / June 8, 2011 at 11:20 pm
Hottest day of the summer so far. We found Cool Hand Luc irresistible. Had a yummy scoop of Moose Tracks... then I clumsily dropped it on the sidewalk outside. Heart breaking. But they were awesome enough to replace the scoop for me. Thanks guys! I'm sure business will be booming given the toasty weather.
QueenStreeter / June 10, 2011 at 06:15 pm
I had the Kodiak Island Fudge... delicious!! And I love the characters on the back wall mural... sweet but hilarious!
lowrez / June 15, 2011 at 02:30 pm
I like this place (I live in the neighbourhood). Kawarthas ice cream is GREAT, and the prices will keep me from getting fat.

I think Greg's Ice Cream would be a good consideration for a supplier. I know they sell Greg's at White Squirrel Cafe.
Kerry / July 15, 2011 at 02:56 pm
I work down the street and we went last week. The sorbet is pretty good. I'm going to try the ice cream today. The staff isn't very friendly, which you would expect in an ice cream shop.
Melissa Munroe / August 26, 2011 at 01:57 pm
Not as good as it sounds: It's too bad the staff wasn't friendly and the prices are high. I wish there were more interesting sorbet flavors like: green apple, pear, mandarin, grapefruit, lime, peach, lemon-grass lychee, coconut and champagne.
Steve / August 31, 2011 at 06:33 am
I stopped by the other day with $5.00 in hand thinking that would be enough. My mistake for not looking at the prices first. Luc saw that I was short on cash and rather than having me use the cash machine he said I could simply stop by the next day. I appeciated his trust. It's a rare thing to find in Toronto. The ice cream was good and I will return. Very friendly staff and a nice refreshing treat. What more can I ask for?
Shay / April 12, 2012 at 01:22 pm
I love how people are so set on knocking something before they even try it. When you read the comments from top to bottom you realize just what being snotty and full of s*** looks like. Starts off with people blah blahing about business plans and prices before even taking a chance to get up from their ass molded office chairs and try it, then goes into hating on concept and product line they "may or may not" have heard of, then as you go along, people start talking about how they tried it out and it was great. Or how people think it's a great idea.
Don't be so damn quick to judge from your tiny offices, get out, try it, then maybe it might change your tiny mind.
BTW a scoop of Laura Secord ice cream is $3 and a blizzard from DQ could cost you up to $8. And really, if I was on King West and Bathurst, I'm not going to trek up to some Pinkberry knock off 20 blocks away... just saying. Don't be pathetic people.

Also a great note about this place... they sell amazing Grilled Cheeses!! and they definitely have debit.
Katie / January 30, 2013 at 10:45 pm
I don't understand why im reading so many negative comments. I think Cool Hand Luc is a Great place. too bad they got evicted for christmas! their grilled cheeses are fantastic and they go super well with their soups. so comforting during winter. and their ice cream-though a little pricey- is very comforting during summer. the staff are very friendly and luc is awesome. i have nothing bad to say about this place.

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