Eating-up Stratford
Bite by Byte

Friday, January 14, 2011

Jenn & Larry's Brittle and Shakes: It's a Stacey Thing!

So ever since I moved to Stratford a little over a year ago, it seems that whenever I've introduced myself to someone:

'Hi, I'm Steve Stacey' 

I've gotten the same question:

'Oh, are you related to the Staceys? Jenny? Dan? Larry? Gail?'

For a while, I didn't know who they were referring to. 

Then one night out on the town I was introduced to Dan Stacey. We hit it off immediately (it's a Stacey thing, you wouldn't understand). I learned that he was a highly accomplished fiddle and step dance performer. Check out this footwork!!:

Over the course of this year, I've also become acquainted with the confectionery handiwork of Dan's twin sister, Jenn Stacey, aka Jenny of Jenny's Peanut Brittle. 

I first came across the Jenny's Peanut Brittle booth at the Canada Day event held in the Stratford city centre (above). Then, when I embarked on the Stratford Chocolate Trail I discovered Jenny's  chocolate-dipped almond cranberry brittle at Treasures, which was hands-down the best thing I tried on the town's sweetest tour.

Then, near the end of last summer, I was delighted to see that Jenn had set up a permanent retail location on York Street, looking right over the riverside. I brought my boys (aka the Stacey Brothers) by for a shake, and that was when we met Jenn and Dan's dad Larry Stacey, the co-proprietor of Jenn & Larry's Brittle and Shakes.

As it turns out, Larry Stacey, along with his wife Gail, are well-known as the former king and queen of drive-in cuisine here in Stratford. Back in the sixties and early seventies, Gail ran the food side of 'Larry and Gail's Drive In', and Larry was the man behind their trademark milkshakes, "The line-ups on Sunday began at noon and didn't end until 8 at night at the ice cream stand."

Larry and Gail sold their thrivin' drive-in around 1973, upon the arrival of twins Jenny and Dan. Which turned out to be a great decision: Jenn is also a highly accomplished performer and teacher of Canadian Step Dancing, and she and her brother would probably not have made it to the highest levels of step dancing had their parents not been able to travel all over Ontario to festivals with them every weekend beginning when they were six!
Great news Stratford: After a brief hiatus of nearly forty years, Larry is back in action with the best shakes in town! In fact, he still uses a vintage 1952 three-spinner Hamiton Beach shake blender (above: you can't miss that classic soda-fountain-aqua colour).

Jenn and Larry are extremely excited about the future of their family business (Dan and Gail both help out too!). Whether you come for the soft serve ice cream or brittle (or both!) you'll enjoy a unique experience and find a great treat for everyone in the family.

Jenn and Larry just announced some new products, including take-out ice cream tubbies streaked with rich deposits of chocolate fudge and/or caramel sauce. As a special winter treat they've been offering a Hot Chocolate Peppermint Float. Soon, they plan to serve a line of creative sundae toppings using local and organic fruit.

But the main reason I came by this week was for one of their new ice cream cakes. You see, my little Stacey Brothers have both been a little under the weather all week. I thought I might cheer them up with an awesome treat from Jenn & Larry's Brittle and Shakes [...and Ice Cream Cakes - watch for the catchy name change soon!]. Thanks Staceys - your delicious, creamy and fun cake totally made their day!


  1. My mouth is watering for a milkshake now! I can't wait to try this place out. A small note: they are located on York Street, not Erie.

  2. Thanks Rachelle, I just fixed the street error before coming across your comment! I gotta stop blogging so late at night! 49 York Street. PS: Try the garlic brittle!

  3. Hi steve, great piece. thank you
    one thing dan and i are Canadian Step dancers not highland dancers, we travelled step dance and fiddle contests all over ontario. Jenny

  4. Glad you liked the post Jenny! I've changed the details about your dance genre - no matter what it's called I love it and can't wait to see Dan perform live next time he's in town!

  5. if that ice cream cake didn't make the Stacey Brothers feel good, i don't know what would. Staey's rule!

  6. I love both the old fashioned milk shakes (malts) and even with a side of brittle or topped on some ice icecream

  7. Well, I just can't believe I found this site!! If I ever get home again I know my first stop!! Do you still have rum and butter shakes? I am really disappointed though that there is no mention of the great footlong hot dogs created at the "other booth" at Larry and Gail's, cooked up by the chef's Brenda, Kathy and the condiment topper.. "Smitty". (haha). It is so nice seeing pictures of your family. They are all beautiful. All the best in the new business.
    Smitty.. (Arlene Karg-