The Village Scoop
The Village Scoop is a modest neighbourhood ice cream joint serving as a little hub for the St. Clair West community. On Rushton Road just north of St. Clair, The Village Scoop operates out of a snug storefront that opens up to lots of patio space and seating. I stop by just as a preschooler and his dad are ending a chat with the woman behind the counter and saying their goodbyes. The little boy, no doubt content with a belly full of gelato, waves and cycles away with his dad.
While I arrive in time to catch the St. Clair version of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, I simultaneously encounter The Village Scoop just as it is struck with one of the most calamitous situations to befall an ice cream shop; indeed, the power is out. Not just here, but on the entire block.
A man from the restaurant next door pops by.
"Haven't heard anything from Hydro," he says.
"Ah, well keep me posted," the woman here replies. I find out her name is Marisa, and her brother owns the shop.
"We opened two seasons ago," she tells me as we start to chat. "We've been in hospitality for 20 years, and we felt like opening a little place for kids and people in the neighbourhood to drop by."
The Village Scoop is all about neighbourhood, and Marisa says they work with businesses in the area, such as Pain Perdu , to help promote each other and share customers. "We're hoping to work out something with Ezra's Pound for our coffee," she says.
In the meantime, I'm introduced to The Village Scoop's gelatos and ice creams, sourced from Kawartha Dairy and Gelato Fresco. "The flavours are always rotating," Marisa says, "but there are definite favourites."
Authentic, non-dairy gelato always wins over conventional ice cream in my heart, and I admire the rich colours of the fruit flavours beaming from the cooler. Available in two sizes ($4.55 and $5.50), the treat can stand alone here, or else be paired with freshly squeezed juices, smoothies made on the spot, wraps and more. But, of course, the power outage would be an issue, limiting my options.
With a quick open and close of the cooler, I'm handed a cup with a mélange of raspberry, mango, and passion fruit gelatos. Individually, they're delicious--crisp and rich in flavour--and together they make a refreshing, sort of tropical blend treat. I bid The Village Scoop farewell and face my own calamitous situation--crossing St. Clair with its streetlights in the dark.
Photos by Jesse Milns