With Hertel Avenue Poutine & Cream right across Hertel Avenue, and Lake Effect down the street, Churn faced tough competition.
The soft-serve ice cream place, from the Lloyd Taco Factory people next door, was already using custom ice cream base made from premium milk.
That wasn't enough to keep the store, at 1501 Hertel Ave., crowded. Occasional crunchy crystals in the ice cream didn't help.
Over the winter, the Lloyd brain trust reached back into history and chose churros as the answer.
The Mexican doughnut sticks, a feature on the original Lloyd truck, are the most obvious difference in the rebooted Churn experience. There's a doorway into Lloyd Taco Factory next door now, but the churros are the biggest change.
They're crunchy outside and soft, almost custardy, inside. Stick a couple into a sundae and the idea suddenly makes even more sense: edible utensils.
These sundaes ($6.99) aren't trying to win your heart with more toppings. They're trying to win your taste buds over with finesse. For the most part, their victory is sweet indeed.
Caramelicious tops vanilla soft serve with dark rum caramel sauce, banana slices and whipped cream. The better milk used in the ice cream pays off in flavor.
It was particularly apt with one of the Tipico-sourced coffee drinks, like the cappucino.
The Lemon Head got my nod. It gets boosts from bright lemon curd, shortbread crumbles and marshmallow rosettes torched for a burnt sugar note.
Vegans should know that the coconut-cream-based vegan ice cream is rich and velvety. If Churn didn't tell me it was made without cow assistance, I would not have known.
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