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Lake Effect Ice Cream extends season, releases Warm Front Floats

Given the business' name, it makes perfect sense for Lake Effect Ice Cream to stay open during the winter.

The ice cream shop at 79 Canal St. operated by two Lockport High School teachers, Jason Wulf and Erik Bernardi, will start serving customers year-round after closing for winters since Lake Effect's birth in 2007. In years past, the business would close just after Halloween with its annual pint sale.

Wulf and Bernardi have morphed their menu to match the change in season, releasing four new Warm Front Floats, two based around hot chocolate and two around warm Mayer Brothers apple cider.

The colorful sign describing Lake Effect Ice Cream's Warm Front Floats. (via Lake Effect)

The colorful sign describing Lake Effect Ice Cream's Warm Front Floats. Click for a larger image. (via Lake Effect)

Inspired by a treat from Wulf's family trip to Quebec, Lake Effect presents the floats in unusual fashion: Bucket-like bowls are filled with one scoop of Lake Effect Ice Cream, then hot chocolate or cider is poured over top, and then finished with whipped cream and a sauce.

On the side, each of the four options - chocolate s'more, peanut butter cup, Caramel Crackle and Lemon Bee-Hive - is served with three appropriate supplemental flavors, like toasted marshmallows, peanut brittle or even apple-flavored Pop Rocks, which accentuate the Caramel Crackle cider-based float.

"I wanted to use Pop Rocks from the first day of opening," Wulf admitted, "but you can't do it on ice cream. People seem to like the crackle [it gives]."

A Chinese-inspired soup spoon - practically a ladle - is the provided tool, effective for mixing all the ingredients together and insuring a hearty portion in each slurp. Think of it as a really sweet bowl of ramen.

Although the floats, which run for $5.50 apiece, have only been offered for 10 days, the peanut butter cup variety is the most popular so far.

"It's really comfort food," Wulf described. "You can't get more comfort food than those two [flavors]."

Winter ice cream varieties, something Wulf and Lake Effect have never really explored, are on the docket for the future, while a local pie collaboration with Cutie Pies Bakery - a warm half-pie covered in an ice cream flavor of the customer's choice - and apple cider and cinnamon doughnut ice cream round out the current seasonal options.

The peanut butter cup Warm Front Float from Lake Effect Ice Cream. (via Lake Effect)

The peanut butter cup Warm Front Float from Lake Effect Ice Cream. (via Lake Effect)

*Lake Effect is putting the finishing touches on the main kitchen of its 8,000-square-foot manufacturing space, at 49 Niagara St., just down the road from the Lockport scoop shop. When that project is completed in early 2017, the next plan is to add a second scoop shop at an undetermined location.

*The annual pint sale is scheduled for noon to 5 p.m. Nov. 13 at the shop, with thousands of pints available for $3 apiece. You can find a list of the available flavors here, and Lloyd Taco Truck will be on the premises from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

*Wulf praised the Lockport local government in its aesthetic improvements of the Locks District, which has attracted new business and given the blue-collar area a bit of a buzz.

"The city put a lot of time and effort into [improving] the Locks District, and now they're expanding it," Wulf said. "And Steamworks just opened, and it's nice to see money being put into infrastructure. It looks like the city recognizes that it's a working area."

[Related: An interview with Bernardi and Wulf from 2013]

Info: Lake Effect Ice Cream, 79 Canal St., Lockport; 201-1643. Hours: 1 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday

Email Ben Tsujimoto, who wants to know when to use the Pop Rocks, at btsujimoto@buffnews.com

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