Lick It Gelato
Lick It Gelato was borne from a personal quest to bring gelato down to Harbourfront. Karolina and her boyfriend, Tobias, had lived in the area for nearly five years, long resenting the trek out to the east or west to get their hands on some decent gelato. So they decided to take it upon themselves to open up their own place, despite never having run a shop or even knowing how to make gelato.
"We did everything ourselves," Karolina says as we sit at one of Lick It's patio tables. "It's been us and one other couple; we painted everything, built the bar, we made these tables from reclaimed bowling alley lanes."
Karolina, who has a law degree (of all things), says she and her boyfriend took a gelato-making course out in Woodbridge shortly after making the decision to open their own place. "We finally got everything down," she says. "We even figured out how to make our own waffle cones after lots of trials and tribulations — lots of tribulations."
Lick It Gelato has about 10 flavours in store (soon to be 16 when its new counter arrives), pulling from a roster of 20 flavours and counting. The team uses fresh (and seasonal) fruits, real nuts, and other natural ingredients to make its gelato, which is represented in mostly classic flavours including lemon, pistachio, salted caramel, and chocolate hazelnut.
"You've got to try this one," Karolina says, emerging from the back space with a tub of banana gelato. "We just made it today, and it was so good we almost ate the whole thing!"
I brace myself for the spoon, never much a fan of anything "banana" flavoured (childhood ear infection medicine ruined me, alas), but this gelato really impresses me. It has a smooth consistency and the impossible taste of baked banana bread, of all things, and convinces me that I could definitely go for a scoop or two. I also sample the lemon — a classic, tart gelato that is made dairy-free — and the mojito which quickly becomes my favourite for its freshness and little specks of real mint leaves throughout.
Karolina also tells me that the shop has recently rolled out a "doggie gelato" (which is also people-friendly) that is made dairy-free and sugar-free with a peanut butter and banana flavour. Yes, actually. So far, the doggie gelato has received rave reviews (in the form of uncontrolled salivation) from Chloe the lab and Oscar the hound. I'm not sure exactly what to think, especially since my dog would give rave reviews to a half-eaten sandwich by the side of the road, but anything doggie-related usually makes me swoon, so I quickly decide I love the idea.
Back to people. Customers can mix and match their gelato choices with small (two flavours, $3.95), medium (three flavours, $4.95), and large options (four flavours $5.95), with Dufflet pastries to go alongside and espresso drinks made with I Drink Coffee organic roasted beans.
Karolina says she plans to keep on scooping right through the winter (with pumpkin spice, eggnog, and other seasonal flavours), during which she plans to add soups, sandwiches, and hot items to the menu. But, seeing through the rest of the summer, Lick It Gelato is open 8 a.m. to 12 a.m. during the week, and 9 a.m. to 12 a.m. on weekends.
Photos by Jesse Milns