Glenburn Soda Fountain and Confectionery scoops up ice cream and nostalgia

Ron LaQuaglia serves a sundae.
Owner Ron LaQuaglia wears a vintage 'soda jerk' hat while serving. Photo Kerry Hall.

Glenburn Soda Fountain and Confectionery delivers more than just ice cream, it dishes up some cultural history too.

Sitting down in the 1940s-style shop is an immersive experience. The attention to retro detail is fine — from the counter stools and soda fountain equipment to the musical soundtrack and staff uniforms and on to the menu items and candy for sale.

Opened in mid-March in Burnaby Heights, local residents Ron and Roberta LaQuaglia spent several months refurbishing the space to achieve the vintage look and feel.

The menu lists classic ice cream sodas, floats, shakes and sundaes. Cones, single or double-header, or cups are available for a portable treat.

A little modern touch recognizes the changing times — gluten-free cones plus a vegan ice cream option can be had as well.

Local ingredients are a feature of the shop.
 
Abbotsford's Birchwood Dairy supplies a variety of ice cream flavours, from the staples of vanilla and chocolate to more complex mixtures like caramel pecan fudge, French cherry ripple and black raspberry cheesecake. Its product contains 16 per cent butterfat which gives it a thick and creamy texture.
 
For toppings, the shop uses fruits and nuts from the Fraser Valley as available. Flavours like hot fudge, pineapple, strawberry, butterscotch, and peanut butter. Last weekend, blueberry sauce was on the menu made from fresh berries.
 

Pie comes from a couple of local women who run a bakery supplier called the Vancouver Pie Hole. Pair it with coffee for $6.

 

A variety of cool treats can be ordered. Photo Kerry Hall.

Aside from the simpler selections, there are the special sundaes like banana splits, the peanut butter supreme, and the Canadian Mint — mint chocolate chip ice cream with hot fudge, toasted almonds, topped with whipped cream and chocolate chips. Prices for these range from $7 to $9.50.

The LaQuaglias have brought back some old school treats as well, like malts and egg creams. The latter is made with syrup, milk and seltzer. It's like a fizzy chocolate milk, says Ron.

Ron is originally from the east coast of the United States. His family used to routinely visit the local ice cream shop. He and Roberta were looking for a food or sweet-related business to open in the Burnaby Heights area.

They noticed there were many gelato shops in the Lower Mainland, but not a lot of ice cream shops. While looking into potential businesses, their research revealed old-time soda fountains were making a comeback in the U.S. The theme dovetailed from there.

The 1931 Walrus soda fountain, seen here in the foreground, is an original piece of equipment. Photo Kerry Hall.
 
They spent more time researching the fittings for the shop, like the six counter stools. A 1950s Hamilton Beach mixer stirs up tall aluminum tumblers of milkshakes.
 
They found the soda fountain in Washington State. A lucky find, Ron said, since these sorts of items have become popular in collector's circles. Plus, it only needed a few machine parts refurbished, otherwise it's all original, he said, adding its really the centrepiece of the shop.
 
The confectionery part of the shop stocks sweet treats that have been popular for generations: licorice kids, bubblegum, Tootsie Rolls, Cracker Jack caramel popcorn, Pink Candy popcorn, jawbreakers, pixy stix, sweethearts and more.
 
Candy sells from 10 cents per piece and up. Photo Kerry Hall.
 
The shop is named after the former Glenburn Dairy that operated from the 1930s to the 1950s and was located at Hastings Street and Boundary Road.
 
The Glenburn Dairy, its front buidling seen here in 1936, was run by Charlie Haslam. Photo City of Burnaby archives.

Although there is limited seating, the turnover is fairly high, plus there's takeout in a pinch.
 
The best part is it suits all ages and it's an inexpensive stop for a date or family outing. Stay a little while and the 1940s effect starts to sink in.

Find the new Glenburn Soda Fountain and Confectionery at 4090 Hastings St. just west of Gilmore St. in Burnaby.

Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 12-8 p.m. Steet parking available, outside of rush hours.

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