Lake Macquarie's favourite 1973 VW Kombi gelato van opens in Toronto
The Lake Macquarie-based gelato-filled converted 1973 VW Kombi van has taken on a new project landing itself in a freshly opened bricks and mortar space right on the shores of Toronto.
Brought to you by English couple Louise & Paul, LuLu’s Gelato Company officially opened their new space in Toronto on the 5th of November, and to say it has been welcomed with open arms may just be the understatement of the year.
The pastel-pink-painted converted Kombi has been circling around Lake Macquarie and Newcastle at local markets, community events, and even weddings since November 2020.
“I knew that if Ice Cream vans could work in the UK and it’s only warm like two months of the year over there, I think it could work here. There was a definite gap in the market here.
“November 2020 the van started – right in covid times. It was great for us because no one could go out except for exercise. So, we set up along Warners Bay Foreshore where people were exercising; it was the perfect excuse for people to treat themselves,” Louise said.
Deciding it was time to expand the business into a dedicated retail space, it was when Louise stumbled across this empty shell of an opportunity right on the shores of Toronto it was a no-brainer to jump into the next stage of their business.
“I thought for all the elements that are needed for a space to work, it’s got a great big park next door, we’re right on the water, the ferry was coming in, the baths are right here; I knew this was the place for us to do it.”
Opening up in November, LuLu’s in Toronto has already become a daily treat for many locals as well as having people from across Lake Macquarie and Newcastle venture out for a weekend gelato treat.
“It’s been such a juggle, but the space has turned out exactly how I wanted it to. I wanted it to have that continuity so that people recognised it instantly. I wanted this to reflect what we have done with the Kombi over the past two years.”
The venue, whilst small in size, packs a punch and perfectly mimics the OG van with its signature pink stripes and muted brown stripes. Browse the cabinets with their 24 flavours on display including a large selection of gluten and dairy-free options.
Working with the talented crew at Gelista in Adelaide, LuLu’s Gelato is nothing short of a top-tier product. The family-owned gelato business utilises all Australian ingredients and is constantly creating unique and creative flavour combinations.
“Our flavours change frequently. Our best seller is the Lemon Myrtle with Toasted Coconut & Macadamia. It’s divine – it’s so fresh and clean and is a really popular one in the kombi for our weddings. The Orange Crème Brûlée with toasted almonds is another really popular one.”
The future for LuLu’s Gelato looks bright, with Louise wanting to expand the business offering as not just a Gelato joint, but as a dedicated dessert bar.
“In the UK, you would go out for dinner, but you wouldn’t get dessert where you’ve had dinner. You would go for a walk and then find somewhere new for dessert. Eventually, that’s what I would like for LuLu’s – to become the destination for dessert.”
Whilst going for a gelato certainly doesn’t need to be an everyday essential like getting your takeaway coffee may be, dropping in for an experience at LuLu’s is one worth discovering.
“In the next five years, I would like to see us have at least one more shop, potentially somewhere in either Lake Macquarie or in Newcastle.”
With summer well and truly here, and the school holidays just around the corner, a trip out to LuLu’s in Toronto may well be on the cards! If you can’t quite make it across to that side of the lake, rest assured as LuLu’s Gelato Van will be popping up at Croudace Bay Park over the summer period too!
To stay up-to-date on all things LuLu’s -follow along on their journey here.