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Hamilton’s new dairy bar The Parlour deals in sweet nostalgia

A new dairy bar in Hamilton is about to have locals screaming for sweet, sweet ice cream.

The Parlour, which just opened its dreamy pink storefront on Ottawa Street, is the Hammer’s latest spot dealing in that classic summer treat in ways that are both nostalgic and modern, with its seasonally rotating list of 18 different ice cream flavours on top of a kitchen menu of comfort delights.

The enticing ice cream – with flavours ranging from rich to fruity to candy-like – is made with Canadian dairy sourced out of Selwyn, Ontario and ready to be loaded up with a range of toppings that could bring out the kid in just about anybody: gummy bears, cotton candy, animal crackers, cheesecake chunks, and Reese’s Pieces are just the tip of the ice(cream)berg here.

Vegan lovers of ice cream won’t be left out here either, with a small selection of plant-based ice cream options courtesy of Hamilton’s own Fairly Frosted Bakery.

But even those who don’t like ice cream at all have plenty to look forward to here, with a stacked food menu that takes familiar comfort bites like foot-long hot dogs, grilled cheese, and poutine and turns them into innovative, elevated creations.

Sure, a standard poutine is readily available. But why not mix things up with something like the Mac Daddy, which turns a McDonalds Big Mac into poutine heaven; or the Montreal Smoked Meat, which loads those fries up with all of the ingredients of a deli-style Reuben sandwich?

The grilled cheeses and hot dogs are just as unique, with toppings like pulled pork, poached pear, and peanut butter harmoniously making friends with that meat and cheese.

For the culinary industry veterans behind The Parlour, this playful, twisty approach to the food experience is hardly a new thing. The Parlour is yet another project by The Social Event Group: a hospitality company behind some of Hamilton’s most beloved restaurants, food trucks, and kitchen concepts.

“We wanted to have a local place that was family friendly – something super comfortable and welcoming,” says Kara Liersch, Event Manager for The Social Event Group.

“To be honest, we just pictured a good old fashioned ice cream shoppe that you could ride your bikes to and toss them out front while you grab a cone. Our offerings will be just that, from hand scooped ice cream, grilled cheese, foot long hot dogs and poutines.”

Liersch is one part of the mighty, restless trio that heads all of The Social Event Group’s ventures, with the team also including Owner and Chef Brett Liersch and General Manager Nadia Cassano.

The seeds of The Social Event Group were initially sown back in 2012 with the launch of the famed Dirty South Food Truck, a nomadic kitchen known for its elevated takes on Southern comfort food like pulled pork, brisket, and fried chicken.

The truck’s immense success led to further foodie ventures like The Salted Pig and Kreative Katering food trucks, with The Dirty South itself expanding beyond the festival favourite food truck by opening its own small brick & mortar location right here in Hamilton back in 2020.

That lone location near the corner of Barton and James North wasn’t an only child for long: The Dirty South Uptown popped up just months later, a larger Concession Street location that functions as a full-service barbecue restaurant and whiskey bar.

This rapid-fire success might lead most people to take a breather, but not this team. Amid the whirlwind of the past year planning for The Parlour was also readily underway alongside further food spots with unique concepts that are set to appear in Hamilton in the months and years to come; including a second location of The Parlour on the Hamilton Mountain.

“We have a rooftop patio in the works for our Dirty South on Concession location,” says Liersch.

“In addition to that, The Parlour on Concession will be located inside our newest project, Town Hall (opening in 2022). It will be a food hall, hosting a total of five locally owned food stalls along with a licensed bar and patio.  This will open in stages, with The Parlour being first.”

With exciting news like this in a year of so much uncertainty, one thing that’s sure is that Hamilton is about to get even more delicious.

Check out The Parlour on social media for more.

Images courtesy of The Social Event Group

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