Uptown store has more than just gelato

Local, fresh and absolutely delicious — Whole Lot-A Gelata owner Chris Parent describes his Uptown Waterloo shop as offering the utmost quality and taste in its menu.

Parent opened Whole Lot-A Gelata in May 2003, responding to a need he saw in the community. As a resident of Waterloo and father of three children, Parent felt that the town lacked a family venue. “There was nothing in town,” recalled Parent. “Nowhere to get coffee, no- where to get desserts, nowhere to hangout, nowhere to do anything in Uptown Waterloo.”

Although he initially expected the shop to be a hotspot for families with children, Parent described his demographic as “everyone.” Whole Lot-A Gelata has become a destination for bicyclists, walkers, local residents and Uptown employees on their lunch breaks.

Despite the close proximity to the Laurier campus, however, Parent indicated that students do not typically frequent the shop.

“We’re trying to become part of the fabric of Waterloo, but the university… is a different tapestry altogether,” said Parent, describing the integration of the business into the local community and the challenge of engaging the student population.

Describing the unique features of the business, Parent highlighted the market-fresh quality of his products. “Everything’s homemade. Everything’s from raw materials I find locally,” explained Parent. “Really, there is nothing else like this here.”

Although the shop continues to serve customers year-round, business peaks between the months of April and September. Homemade Gelata, Parent’s own brand of gelato, is a warm-weather crowd pleas- er and the vast selection of Gelata and sorbet flavours broadens over the summer months to reflect this popularity.

In addition to serving cold treats, Whole Lot-A Gelata also offers salads, paninis, coffee and other specialty drinks, desserts and pasta, made from scratch in house. Not only are all menu selections from a local source, but they are also customizable to personal taste preferences. Meals prepared on a made-to-order basis ensure quality and freshness of the food being served.

“We’re a mainstream local establishment,” said Parent, stressing that Whole Lot-A Gelata is community based and not a franchise business. “Everything’s organic and everything’s market fresh.”

Whole Lot-A Gelata accommodates the dine-in, take-out and catering needs of its patrons. It also hosts special events including DJ competitions, spoken word readings and poetry groups and is available for private parties, rented out to community groups with no over- head cost.

“Trying to be a part of the community,” added Parent, “[is] an integral part of the fabric.”

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