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In Search of Gelato

By Sarah B. Smith

Florence, Italy. Strolling over the Ponte Vecchio into the heart of the city. Who could forget their first taste of gelato? The place: A gelateria in Florence. The flavor: hazelnut.

This gelato experience was not only memorable for the intense flavor and silky texture of the frozen dessert treat, but it was also noteworthy for how the Italians savored it as a social experience, much in the same way St. Louisans enjoy Ted Drewes frozen custard on a hot summer evening here.

Lucky for all of us, there are some St. Louis entrepreneurs who had similar gelato moments, and whose love of the product has lead to delicious new business ventures. They join a group of distinguished St. Louis restaurants serving this refreshing Italian dessert.

Gelateria Owners Dana and Chris Shearman.

High school chums and recent college graduates Dana and Chris Shearman and David Koepke fell in love with gelato in their holiday travels to Italy. Nine months after graduating from Webster and Washington Universities, these entrepreneurs opened The Gelateria at 14th and Washington in downtown St. Louis. Koepke, the ‘Gelato master’ explains the gelato basics: The product is made from whole milk, eggs, sugar, fruit or other flavorings. Gelato is less firmly frozen, denser, and naturally lower in fat than ice cream. Gelato made with water and no dairy ingredients is called sorbet.

Even though they have only been open a few months, this Washington Avenue trio have developed a following of regulars—both nearby loft residents and downtown office workers. In addition, since they are located just a few blocks from both the City Museum and America’s Center, and offer indoor and outdoor seating, their Gelateria has also become a delightful find for tourists.

The Gelateria makes their gelato fresh daily and flavors vary. But on a recent visit, I had more than a dozen to choose from with bacio (rich chocolate and hazelnut), banana, and raspberry emerging as my favorites.

Further east, enterprising Linda Evans opened Gelatos in Alton four years after she discovered gelato during a school trip to Italy. “It’s an awesome product,” Evans boasts. She uses fresh fruits and ingredients from Italy to make her numerous flavors of gelato.

Evans reports that chocolate is their most popular offering with turtle, butter pecan and toffee as other favorites. In order to thank her growing group of regulars, she recently instituted a ‘Gelato Addicts Card’—buy seven, get one free.

So, to complement those wonderful Ted Drewes concretes, if you’ve never tried gelato before, treat yourself! Priced from $2.50 - $5 per serving, it’s a great way to beat the heat. On the next page find a sampling of great places to start your St. Louis gelato search:

Gelato St. Louis

Amighetti’s Gelato
5141 Wilson Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63110
(314) 776-2855
Tuesday-Friday: 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Saturday: 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Bar Italia
13 Maryland Plaza
St. Louis, MO 63108
(314) 361-7010
Tuesday-Sunday: 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.

Gelatos in Alton
402 State Street
Alton, IL
(618) 465-9350
Monday-Saturday: 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
Sunday: 12-8 p.m.

Gelato Di Risos
9905 Manchester Road
Warson Woods, MO 63122
(314) 962-0660
Monday-Thursday: 7 a.m.-9 p.m.
Friday-Saturday: 7 a.m.-10 p.m.
Sunday: 8 a.m.-9 p.m.

The Gelateria
1327 Washington Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63103
(314) 621-8838
Monday-Thursday: 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Friday-Saturday: 11 a.m.-Midnight
Sunday: Noon-8 p.m.



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