If you are looking to stop for a quick coffee, a scoop of ice cream for the kids, or a place to have a beer and watch the game there is one place in Markdale that is all you could ask for morning to night: Fire & Ice the hot & cool new spot! With an atmosphere that is three businesses in one: an ice cream parlour, a cafe, and a pub offering a range of local retail products, this is the place to be any time of day.
In the mornings you can find a variety of coffees, lattes, and cappuccinos along with several breakfast options including pastries, breakfast sandwiches, and waffles. Throughout the day you can choose from their 24 flavours of Chapman’s ice cream and soft-serve cones. Drop by in the afternoon or evening to find great night-life. Enjoy the game with delicious pub foods like fish & chips, hamburgers, and nachos and a glass of draft beer or wine. The business is also home to many local retail products including the Pickle Guy, Georgian Bay Honey, Sap Sucker Maple Water, and more hopefully being added to the list soon.
The business has just opened less than a month ago in the beginning of September 2015, but there has been so much history before the grand opening. The building was built in 1913 and was used as a fire hall for several decades. The building has had many lives since then working as storage and office space, a farmer’s market hub, and a tourist information centre for the chamber of commerce until the structural soundness was questioned and there was even talk of demolition. The hall then sat vacant for a long period of time, in which Chris Steele, local entrepreneur, started to build his dream.
Chris has not always been interested in owning a restaurant cafe. He has always been self-employed owning a painting business for 22 years and owning apartment buildings. He then got into coffee and found a passion in it creating eCulture on the main street of Markdale a few years ago. In owning eCulture he had customers asking for different products and services, hearing requests for cappuccinos, espresso, and local Chapman’s ice cream as there was nowhere in the community you could find them. After seeing the old fire hall vacant and up for sale the brainstorming began. After talk of so many ideas for the building, Chris’ dreams started to become a reality when he bought the building almost 2 years ago.
Today, after close to 2 years of work and renovations Chris and his step-daughter/ business partner Ashley have opened Fire & Ice’s doors to the public with nothing but good reviews! The two say that they could not have asked for a better location. There are always people in Markdale stopping at the bank or the grocery store or on their way to Sauble Beach so there is constant traffic. Right beside the lights in Markdale and on highway 10 attracting local and tourist traffic, its prime. The character the fire hall brings also creates the perfect atmosphere for all aspects of their business not to mention the tall tower is visible throughout Markdale making it a staple in the town.
In the future the business pair are looking forward to doing their own in house coffee roasting starting in late October-early November and they hope to be known for the delicious smell of coffee wafting into the streets. For now they are happy with their amount of seating, but after some time they wish to add to their tables and outdoor patio. They also would like to have local jam sessions on their stage and hopefully will be bringing in more entertainment as they further on in this business venture. The two are always listening to their customer’s requests for different products, and in the future they want to broaden their retail stock to fit their clients’ needs.
The business is still new, but they are already building a base of regulars. “Everyone who has stopped in has come back” says Chris. When asked if there was anything they wanted to add, all Chris and Ashley had to say was thank you to the community for the welcoming, and that they could not have done it without everyone’s support. Markdale thanks these two and the rest of their team as well for the perfect hangout spot close to home!