Arts and Entertainment

Fresh, fair and flavorable: New gelato business has customers coming back before its doors open

Husband and wife team Fareed and Jennifer Al-Abboud are bringing  artisan gelato to downtown Winslow in their new shop Gelarto. Gelarto will celebrate its grand opening at 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 31. - Luciano Marano | Bainbridge Island Review
Husband and wife team Fareed and Jennifer Al-Abboud are bringing artisan gelato to downtown Winslow in their new shop Gelarto. Gelarto will celebrate its grand opening at 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 31.
— image credit: Luciano Marano | Bainbridge Island Review

Quality. That’s where the story of Gelarto, downtown Winslow’s newest eatery begins and ends.

Whether it be the gourmet frozen delicacy from which the establishment takes its name (Gelarto being a combination of the words “gelato” and “artisan”), the artworks that adorn the walls of the shop or the care that husband and wife owners Fareed and Jennifer Al-Abboud take in every other aspect of their business, craftsmanship is the true order of the day.

“Gelato is the product we’re centered around,” Jennifer Al-Abboud explained, “but it’s all about quality, quality products and fair trade and local business and all of that rolled into one.”

The new boutique desert outlet — which will celebrate its official grand opening at 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 31 — boasts a variety of flavors from the fruity and refreshing likes of banana and lemon, to decadent flavors like peanut butter cup and tiramisu.

The wares are proving popular already, selling out completely of almost every flavor in the first two days, and giving rise to repeat customers with surprising speed.

“We had regular customers the first day,” Jennifer laughed. “Some people came back two or three times in one day.”

Having used the soft opening to test the consumer reaction and get a real feel for how much product they are going to need on hand, the couple said they are ready for the big day.

“It’s been fun so far,” Jennifer Al-Abboud said. “I knew it would be well-received, but it’s been even more successful than we originally thought.

“Bainbridge is the perfect place to start a business,” she said. “Everyone has been very supportive and helpful and we have great customers already. Everyone is engaging and friendly and we’ve got great word of mouth going.”

The positive reaction by the community has made all the difference for the Al-Abbouds, both teachers by trade and first-time business owners.  Jennifer Al-Abboud teaches Spanish and world history at North Kitsap High School and Fareed Al-Abboud, though currently on a sabbatical, is an art teacher who’s own works can be seen on the walls of Gelarto.

The main attraction, of course, remains the gelato itself.

The delicious star of the show comes to the Bainbridge shop from D’Ambrosio Gelato, a family-run operation that uses local ingredients to create organic dairy products in their Ballard-based kitchen.

“We were in the right place at the right time,” Fareed Al-Abboud explained. “The only question then was, what kind of gelato do we use?”

It was a question that required some research, and after sampling and deciding against several other brands, the couple chose D’Ambrosio.

“We are not salespeople,” he said. “But if you believe in something, you get excited about it and then people can tell.”

“We love this stuff,” he added. “I’ll eat it day and night. The belief in the product you’re selling makes or breaks everything.”

The grand opening celebration also boasts a free T-shirt giveaway for the first 50 customers and the start of what promises to be an interesting community art project.

“We’re giving away pre-addressed picture postcards,” Jennifer Al-Abboud explained. “And we want people to take photos of themselves in our shirts as they go to different places, and we’ll put the postcards up in the store. On our first year anniversary we’ll have a drawing for prizes.”

The first-place prize is a $500 art scholarship, and the reward for the “most creative photo” is a free pint of gelato every month for a whole year.

“Bainbridge is a very conscientious community with discerning customers,” she said. “They’re very quality-conscience. We’re looking forward to being a bigger part of the community.”

Gelarto is located at 123 Bjune Drive SE, Suite 123 in downtown Winslow. Hours of operation are

11 a.m.  to 9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday.

For more information about the grand opening, contact the proprietors at GelartoBainbridge@gmail.com or call 206-780-4000.

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