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Neon Cone

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Dennis and Constance Olivier were founding tenants of The Forks when they first opened Frogurts in 1989. Fifteen years later, the Oliviers cornered the ice cream market in Winnipeg’s top tourist destination, purchasing the ice cream shop for sale by a previous tenant.

Now, their ice cream counter Neon Cone serves up more than nostalgia ­– the Oliviers are pouring their hearts and souls into innovative homemade ice cream and gelato flavours.

“In the last five years, we’ve been developing a menu and expanding the flavours,” says Dennis. “Our goal down the road is hopefully to be making all of our own ice cream.”

While the first-generation owners of the shop are nearing retirement, their son Daniel Olivier is bringing a renewed energy for signature homemade flavours, interesting collaborations, and future renovations and upgrades, including new equipment for their in-house ice cream production.

While focusing their flavours on made-in-Manitoba ingredients, Neon Cone has found natural collaborators in some of Winnipeg’s better-known small-batch food producers like Beeprojects Apiaries and Lilac Bakery.

Currently, Neon Cone and Lilac Bakery are teaming up on a summer favourite: ice cream sandwiches, which will be available at both The Forks’ institution and the River Heights bakery.

Perhaps what Neon Cone does best is leaving its options open for all sweet tooths and levels of undecidedness. “We can’t just be specialty, high-end,” explains Dennis. “There’s got to be something for everyone. We try to reach all the demographics who come to The Forks – children, and families.”

With Frogurts covering frozen yogurt aficionados, Neon Cone serves up classic hard ice cream along with specialty in-house flavours, soft ice cream delicacies and gelato.

Neon Cone even offers flights of four gelato or ice cream flavours ­– just like the ones visitors to The Common are used to enjoying for beer or wine.

For the very busy months – which end up being all the way from about March until the end of October – “you’d be surprised how much ice cream (Winnipeggers) eat in the winter,” notes Dennis – Neon Cone runs steady from about 11 in the morning to 11 at night, barely keeping up with Winnipeggers’ demands for the cold stuff.

“Sometimes when there are special events on here, we have 10 servers and we can’t keep up with the line inside or outside,” says Dennis, reminding of the outdoor window for service.

“We’re so busy because of The Forks. And we’re so busy because of their ideas and their renovations.

“Refreshing the Market is great for our business, but it’s also just great for the people in Winnipeg. We feel privileged to be a part of it.”

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