The Lockside Canteen at Shubie Park
Our tacos are made in the style of Mexican road-side taquerías!
JOIN US FOR SUNSET DINNERS!
Keep an eye on Facebook & Instagram for info on our next sunset dinner event.
They're wrapped in fresh, pressed-on-the-spot, naturally gluten-free corn tortillas. The fillings are made from local, responsibly raised meats when possible and we just about always have a vegan option on hand. Peppers for our hand-made salsas come from either local farms, like Off Beet Farm, or are hauled from our annual travels to Mexico.
Lemonade & Drinks
You'll also find our signature flavoured lemonades squeezed right in front of you, as well as a rotating menu of additional refreshing beverages like aguas frescas, iced teas, and smoothies.
For those with a sweet tooth, we've got our fruit filled and preservative free popsicles & freezies as well as ice cream floats made with your choice of cold brew or lemonade.
We try to represent as many great local companies as we can possibly fit in our little shack. From the cutest ever dog treats by The Littlest Pet Bakery, to the best cold brew coffee you'll ever taste made by Low Point Coffee Co, to Halifax's signature fair trade and organic loose leaf tea provider, World Tea House. We regularly use products from Off Beet Farm, Hodgepodge Farm, and Martock Glen Farm in our tacos and treats.
Our season is from mid-May to mid-October. If it's a rainy day, we might be closed! Be sure to check Instagram or ask us on Facebook to confirm that we're open and to find out when our next dinner event is scheduled!
We are now closed for the 2019 season. We can't wait to see all of you back at Shubie Park in May 2020!
Expected hours starting mid-May 2020:
Our menu changes constantly! When we're open, you can click below to see today's menu and pre-order online so your food will be ready shortly after you arrive. Simply present your order confirmation on your phone at the canteen window.
We’re super kid and dog friendly; bring the whole family!
We take cash, card, and apple pay. Debit is tap only. All prices include HST.
Welcome to the Shubie Community Garden!
With help from the local community via our GoFundMe campaign, the Shubenacadie Canal Commission and local government, in the spring of 2018, we built a community garden surrounding the patio at Shubie Park!
The garden has 12 4x4 plots for community use, including our own plot to grow some of the foods found on our menu, and a plot for use by Halifax REC and their day camps!
We also equipped the patio with built in shade, lighting for evening events and bench seating to further enhance the patio space at Shubie Park.
If you’re interested in one of the plots in the future, send us an email with your name and phone number to be added to our waitlist for next year.
We used to vend at markets with various changing flavours of lemonade made with freshly pressed lemon by the cup or by the 750mL glass swing-top bottle. We also had our seasonally flavoured freezies and ice pops available through spring summer and fall.
Things got pretty busy at Shubie over the years, and so we no longer vend at markets, however we still obtain most of our fresh local ingredients from Alderney Market!
If you've visited us at markets like Alderney or the Halifax Forum in the past, we'd love to see you at The Lockside Canteen for a bottle refill and to get your freezie/popsicle fix! Plus you can try our tacos while you're there 🙂
Don’t be surprised if you see us set up at your favourite event, slinging freshly pressed lemonade and refreshing ice pops. Regardless of where we pop up, everything will always be made on the spot so you know you’re getting the best possible treat.
We’ll do our best to keep Facebook updated with our current list of events, so check over there often!
Hey! We're Krista and Jordan, owners of Lemon Dogs. We're helped by our small team of seasonal hires and two returning regular staff: Zabrina Prescott is invaluable at both the canteen and events, and Steve Crane takes care of most of our wholesale.
Krista Leger runs the show. She's the chef behind everything that goes on our menus, at markets, events, pop-ups, and at the Lockside Canteen. Krista was born in Ontario, raised in South Florida, and moved back to Canada in 2012. She's been cooking since she was a kid, but ended up obtaining a degree in photography. She did the freelance thing for a while, but ultimately decided it wasn't fulfilling enough.
For fun, in 2013, she started up a lemonade stand at Alderney Landing on the weekends. The reception was warm enough that within a couple of years it became her full time 3-season gig.
Jordan Schelew was born and raised in Dartmouth, has a degree in Computer Science, and experience building small businesses from the ground up with very little start-up funding. When not helping to make tacos and lemonade he can be found working on websites and tweaking web server engine technology.
Since 2014 Krista and Jordan have lived in and travelled throughout Mexico and other countries, often visiting areas with a rich food (and specifically street-food) culture. These trips have helped shape how Krista cooks and works with flavour combinations.
They also used these trips to bring back necessary ingredients that are hard to find in Halifax, like Mexican herbs and chiles that are unique to each region. For example, Oaxaca alone must have at least a dozen chiles found uniquely in that region. You'll find rows of jars of these ingredients across the back wall of our Canteen.
It's simply our name! And no, that doesn't mean we sell hot dogs made from lemons...
The original idea was for the company to sell lemonade and gourmet hot dogs. Due to the complications of preparing food on-site at markets, it took a couple of years before we added hot dogs to the mix and, in 2016, we launched our first season at the Lockside Canteen in Shubie Park with gourmet dogs.
In 2017 we transitioned to authentic Mexican style tacos. Gourmet hot dogs had started to become all the rage by the end of 2016 and a number of places started selling them. Plus hot dogs were never Krista's food making preference: she has long preferred authentic Asian inspired dishes and Mexican!
Halifax already had a few authentic Asian restaurants and we realized that the lack of authentic street-style Mexican tacos in Halifax was something we could help with.
With the combination of Krista's past experience in preparing Mexican foods and our ability to obtain recipes and ingredients while staying in Mexico for a month or two each winter, thanks to Jordan's Mom having lived there for over 15 years, the 2017 taco season started our foray into Mexican street food.
We've had our opportunities to do this, but so far we're quite set on being seasonal only.
We can't easily obtain all of the ingredients locally that we require to make our tacos taste like the real thing that you'll find in Mexico, so we go to Mexico to get them!
There's dozens of different types of tacos served throughout the various regions of Mexico; both tasting and learning how to make them requires spending time in Mexico.
We've even learned how to make our corn tortillas in at least three subtly different styles, which we occasionally make use of depending on the type of taco served. Without spending sufficient time in Mexico each winter, these are details we would have surely missed!
It's doubtful we'd be able to run a year-round restaurant and leave for multiple months at a time without requiring it be a much larger operation; probably at least 4-5x the size.
Plus it's nice to take a break and get back in the swing of things feeling refreshed each spring.
We try to be as environmentally friendly as we can be. It's been a core principle of Lemon Dogs since its very beginning in 2013 when we started with bio-plastic cups and paper straws.
Our goal is to make all of our packaging environmentally friendly, but not everything is available in such a form. Here's a breakdown:
- Paper plates
- Paper take-out containers
- Paper bowls and bio-plastic* lids
- Bio-plastic* cold cups and lids
- Paper hot cups
- Paper straws
- Hot cup plastic lids
- Most of our plastic cutlery
Garbage / Plastics
- Plastic freezie and ice pop wrappers
- Some of our cutlery (when not marked as recyclable)
- Checked paper plate liners use a non bio-degradable wax (we think).
- Take-Home Bottles: 750ml recycled glass bottles used for take-home lemonade. A $3 deposit is included in your first purchase ($13) making bottle swaps/refills just $10.
- Water & Bottles: We do not sell bottles of water at the canteen because some portion of them would likely end up in the park and biodegradable plastics are better off in the park long-term than the plastics used to make water bottles. If you bring your own bottle, we'll gladly fill it for free! We are a Tap Refill Station. If you don't have a re-usable cup, we charge a small fee (less than half the cost of a bottle of water) to cover the cost of the cup, lid, and straw, and we welcome you to bring it back for free refills.
- Reusable Cups/Mugs: To further incentivize that our customers bring their own cups or mugs, we provide a discount for those that bring their own cup or mug. This discount extends to those that re-use any bio-plastic cups from drinks they've purchased from us.
By using local ingredients whenever possible, we reduce the amount of carbon dioxide pumped into our atmosphere through the act of shipping products.
* Bio Plastics are biodegradable, but they must be tossed in the garbage. They are typically made of corn or legume by-products and most are certified to decompose at least 80% of their structure within 1 year in optimal aerobic composting facilities.
Halifax's waste management facilities only handle short-term composting. They've told us that they aim to turn their compost into usable garden materials in under 6 months. Since these plastics take longer than that to degrade and the city does not have facilities to force them to biodegrade faster, they must be tossed in the garbage.
In the garbage, bio plastics will still biodegrade, but will likely take longer since the conditions will be less-optimal than with other materials typically found in composts.
Below is a list of things we are regularly asked about. No matter the item, keep the following principles in mind:
- We have very limited space in the canteen and we have chosen to use the space available to us to store the items necessary to make the foods that we do best.
- We try to have environmentally friendly foods and packaging wherever possible
- We do our best to use only whole or natural ingredients and products from local suppliers.
- We try to be comparatively healthy. Check the answer to "Are your products healthy?" to understand what we mean by this.
We don't have:
- Pop/Soda: breaks principle 1 and 3.
- French Fries: breaks principle 1 (and 3 unless we were to cut the fries ourselves). Additionally we only have a very small portable fryer that we use outside only for occasional fried fish tacos and making crispy tortilla chips.
- Ice Cream: breaks principle 1 - ice cream takes up a huge amount of space and innefficiently at that (those round tubs). We had cones and cups during our first season at Shubie in 2016, however we regularly received criticism on our pricing. It's not feasible to compete with scoop shops on pricing since most of them are non-profit and making money isn't necessary for them like it is for us. More importantly we have a very old freezer from the '60s that, during the hotest days, doesn't keep ice cream as firm as it should be. As a result of this we opted to focus on the products we do really well instead, like hand-made popsicles and our signature ice cream lemonade floats!
- Hot Dogs: breaks principles 1 and 4. If given the choice between storing hot dogs and buns and the raw ingredients to make great tacos, we'll always pick the latter! That said, we do have a Canada Day Outdoor BBQ on our patio where we sell Sonora Dogs. Keep an eye out for it!
- Sour Cream: we don't have sour cream because it's not actually found in most Mexican food (don't even get us started on the "Mexican" aisle of most grocery stores around here). In Mexico, you will find Crema, which is more like Crème Fraîche than Sour Cream. Some say they're all kinda the same, but we disagree. Sometimes we'll have our house-made Mexican crema, but it's not always on-hand.
- TexMex or Mexican Fusion: we love some good TexMex or Mexican Fusion on occasion, but it's just not what we do. There's plenty of places around town offering these options. We decided to offer something different from the usual in Halifax, and that's what we're sticking to.
No. Our lemonade and frozen treats contain sugar, and our tacos often contain meats with decent fat content (that's part of what makes them so tasty!)
But we do think they're comparatively healthier, meaning that much of our products are likely to be healthier or have more value for your body than similar products you can buy at the store due to likely less sugar content, less preservatives, and/or the use of the freshest produce.
Please note that we haven't done the necessary testing to verify this: we are only making well-informed assumptions.
Here's a few examples:
- Most of our popsicles and freezies are made from sugar and real fruit, much of which is purchased from Alderney Market. We believe these items are likely to be healthier for you than a box of store-bought freezies that typically contain sugar, water, artificial flavours and colouring, along with a bunch of preservatives.
- Our lemonade is made at what we believe to be the perfect balance between sweet and tart. Because store-bought lemonade typically tastes very sweet, we believe that our preservative-free and more tart lemonade likely contains less sugar.
- Since we don't use store bought salsas or tortillas, the majority of our food is preservative free. While there's no evidence proving that most commonly used preservatives are a problem for our health, many people make a conscious effort to avoid them. We avoid preservatives because we think they shouldn't be necessary: a restaurant should be able to go through their stock of food supplies well within their normal expiration periods.
We strive to make as much as we can from local ingredients rather than packaged items. From our hand-pressed made on the spot corn tortillas to our freezies and popsicles, to our hand-pressed lemonades.
White sugar is used in...
- Our frozen treats to obtain the best possible consistency. Sugar reduces the size of ice crystals, which is pretty handy!
- Our lemonades because of the way the sweet flavour binds with the tart from the lemons. When we use Stevia (an option at our Canteen), the sweet and tart flavours tend to occur separately on the tongue, resulting in a strong sour sensation followed by a strong sweet sensation. Although Stevia is definitely a great alternative to Sugar for those that require it, we find this lack of flavour binding to be less preferrable.
Please check with us before placing your order and we can tell you if and when we have used any given allergen. Here's some general rules of thumb:
Gluten: As of May 2019 we do not knowingly use any products that contain gluten. Many of our ingredients are purchased in Mexico where allergen labels are not always available.
Seeds & Nuts: We regularly use seeds and nuts at the canteen as they are common in Mexican fare, with seeds being more common than nuts. Since we make just about everything on our menu, you can ask us for details on whatever you'd like to eat.
Dairy & Eggs: We regularly use dairy and eggs at the canteen. For those with less severe allergies, these items can be omitted from most products we sell. Many of our products are already cream and milk free, and we usually have Oat Milk on hand for coffee and tea.
Vegan/Vegetarian: We always have at least one vegan taco available on our menu and most of our vegetarian options can be made vegan. Most popsicles, freezies, and lemonades are vegan.
We do what we can to separate vegan items from meat, however please keepin mind that we have a very small cooking surface and it's possible that contact could occur.
Sometimes! A beautiful sunny weekend often means a lot of people at the park. Since our products are hand-made and cooked to order, when it gets busy, the wait gets longer.
On your average weekday drinks are ready within 5 minutes and tacos in about 10.
On a busy weekend, drinks can take 10-15 minutes and tacos 15-25 minutes.
We think it's pretty neat that we can have everything prepared in roughly the same amount of time as your average non-fast-food restaurant, despite making everything by hand and being a tiny fraction of the size.
We do our best to monitor our food preparation times in order to keep them within our personal 20 minute goal, and in the event there is a wait we hope that, as many of our customers have indicated for themselves, you'll find that the food is worth it.
Did you know that, in Mexico, tiny road-side taquerias are everywhere and people often wait in long lines, often for 30-45 minutes or longer, for the best tacos in town?
Shubie Canal Commission
We rent our canteen space and patio from the Shubenacadie Canal Commission, who have been truly excellent to work with. They've allowed us the freedom to grow the canteen, patio, and helped to fund the Shubie community garden. If you've enjoyed Shubie Park, or any part of the Canal system, please consider supporting them by purchasing some of their wares or sending a donation. You can do that on their website here.
If you haven't been in to the Fairbanks Centre (that bigger building behind us!) to check out the museum or see the working demonstration of the locks, we recommend you do so! The canal has a fantastic history, starting with its many hundreds of years as a trade route for first nations (primaryily Mi'kmaq), to the incredible feat of newcomers when they set out to widen, deepen, and extend the system to ensure boats can pass from the harbour to the other side of the province.
We are not affiliated with the company that offers boat rentals at Shubie, but we're certainly grateful to share a location with them, after all, what could be a better afternoon than spending it eating tacos and paddling on a beautiful sunny day?
The boat rental company has changed hands a few times since we started at Shubie and, as of 2019, boat rentals are run by Flex Water Sports. Regardless of the company, details and contact info are always kept up to date on the Shubenacadie Canal website.
This is likely our most frequently asked question! Her name is Charlie and it is believed that she's a Samoyed Husky mix. Krista rescued her as a puppy in Florida 11 years ago (as of May 2019).
Some notes about Charlie:
- Heat: when our weather apps accurately predict the hottest days outside, we leave her at home in the air conditioning. When she is with us and it appears too hot outside, we take her for a dip in the canal to cool off. Her white fur does not attract the sun like darker fur does, and her undercoat helps to insulate her from the heat, much as it insulates from the cold in the winter.
- Petting: Charlie is very friendly and would surely love your pets! That said she has her quirks as she gets older. If you have a puppy with you, Charlie can get overwhelmed with their exhuberance. Please be mindful of this. If you have a young child with you, please ensure an adult is present at all times. Charlie is typically great with older children that are mindful and frequently around dogs. Please use your judgement.
- Other Dogs: Charlie is, in general, great around other dogs. She grew up with teacup sized dogs and a chihuahua, and frequently plays with cats, so she is excellent with small creatures. Charlie also loves huskies and samoyeds, but for unknown reasons is not that fond of golden retrievers and german shepherds.
- Talkative: As she's got both husky and samoyed in her, she can be very talkative; it doesn't always mean she needs something.
- Food: You may share small quantities of dog-friendly(ish) foods or dog treats with her, but please do not feel obligated to do so. She is well fed, despite the pleading-sounding noises she often makes! She absolutely loves freezies and popsicles (minimal quantities is best due to sugar content), many veggies, and of course meat.