swensons toronto

Popular U.S. ice cream chain Swensen's wants to open a flagship restaurant in Toronto

One of America's most beloved ice cream sundae parlours-turned-full on restaurant chains is looking to open its first ever Canadian flagship location in the GTA.

Swensen's, founded in San Francisco circa 1948, is best known for its outrageous old-school desserts, an immense menu of more than 180 ice cream flavours, and self-described "old-fashion values," which are said to include "warmth, sharing, welcoming, classic, beloved, charming, and fun."

The brand currently has about 300 franchise outlets all over the world, from the United States and South America to East Asia, India and the Middle East.

Ironically, while the company prides itself on "pioneering the quintessential American Ice Cream Sundae parlour," Swensen's has been Canadian-owned since 2006, when it was purchased by Markham's International Franchise Corp (aka the owner of Yogen Früz.)

Canadians can currently pick up scoops of Swensen's ice cream at some 30 Yogen Früz mall locations across Ontario, but to date, the company has yet to launch an actual restaurant here.

This is soon to change, based on a list of tenants currently seeking commercial space through The Behar Group.

A listing for Swensen's on the Toronto-based brokerage's website indicates that the chain is seeking "a high profile site for a flagship restaurant to launch a first to market brand in Canada" somewhere within the GTA.

Based on the requirements laid out in an included PDF, it looks like Swensen's is aiming for something within or close to a major mall, similar to Cheesecake Factory's popular Yorkdale location.

"High visibility storefront and signage... Easy ingress and egress to shopping centre," reads the list of wants. "Complimentary co-tenancies with leading national retailers in a busy retail node... Suburban, family oriented communities with above average demographics."

The chain is looking for between 2,500 and 3,500 square feet worth of space with "ample parking" on site, pretty much eliminating much of downtown Toronto.

My prediction is that we'll see a huge new Swenson's restaurant open somewhere in Vaughan, Mississauga or Richmond Hill sometime over the next year.

I hope you like mega melts, outrageous "super fantasty sundaes" and waiting in line!

Lead photo by

Swensen's Ice Cream


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