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Cool, creamy and dreamy

Without further ado, Mora fans can enjoy exotic ice creams on Madrone Lane. - Julie Busch photo
Without further ado, Mora fans can enjoy exotic ice creams on Madrone Lane.
— image credit: Julie Busch photo

Locally owned Mora Iced Creamery finds an enthusiastic following in Winslow.

As Ana Orselli and Gerardo Perez-Pisarra worked out last-minute details, customers boldly walked into their Madrone Lane store – even though it wasn’t open for business.

The couple accepted congratulations for this, their second Mora Iced Creamery location, as ice cream cones were scooped. And when the machine that takes debit cards didn’t work, Perez-Pisarra thought fast – he opened his wallet and handed $20 to every customer who needed it, and said to pay him later.

By noon the next day, every bit of the $110 he gave away was back in his pocket.

“Typical Bainbridge,” he said with a smile. “I wouldn’t do this anywhere else. We call this place ‘Paradise Island.’”

While Orselli and Perez-Pisarra got the store ready, two neighbors took turns mowing their lawn. Flower arrangements from fellow merchants welcomed them to the Winslow neighborhood.

“Paradise Island,” Perez-Pisarra repeated.

Patrons had scoped out the Mora Iced Creamery site for weeks, anticipating the offerings that previously were available only at the couple’s Day Road production facility and in Bellevue.

“We had people until 10 o’clock (Wednesday),” Orselli said. “People were coming as if from underground.”

The first customer at the Day Road facility wanted to be the first customer in the Bainbridge store, so she arrived early with parents in tow. That night, another islander returned home to blog: “It’s like a piazza.”

Cream paint, red umbrellas atop black ice cream parlor tables and massive pots of colorful flowers lend a convivial welcome to the corner site, which begs lingering over ice cream and conversation. Honey-hued benches on flagstones laid by Orselli provide additional seating.

A Day Road customer returned on Thursday to say how happy she is about the Winslow location.

“I hope all my bridge players came. I told them all how nice you are,” she told the owners.

The sophisticated design extends within, with gleaming counters, an easy-to-read wall menu and paintings by local artist Mariana Sola. As in the first Mora store in Bellevue Square, the staff explains the ordering process and spoons out as many samples as each customer wants.

Will it be a summer treat, like watermelon or lime sorbet? The new peanut ice cream with shaved chocolate? Perhaps moraccino, a mocha shake with a shot of espresso, or a root beer float.

Signature favorites, such as sabayon, marron glace and dulce de leche, also are available, along with lattes, tea and cappuccino. Blackbird Bakery bakes the apple pies from Orselli’s mother’s recipe.

Orselli’s latest ice cream creation features organic lavender from Sequim.

Almost four years have passed since the couple and their two daughters moved to Bainbridge from Argentina and began their ice cream business. From the beginning, they set the bar high.

“This (Bainbridge store) took us five months to get the paperwork done and build this,” Orselli said. “We are always thinking on a big scale, how can we improve here and there...grow and make new flavors.”

“We have been so busy we have had no time to think ‘how do you feel, what are our expectations. We don’t get lost on our focus of doing our best, giving our best to our customers. We can’t fail in that way.”

Building their business has reinforced valuable life lessons for the couple.

They’re not doing everything perfect, Perez-Pisarra said.

“We are humans making ice cream,” he added. “We make mistakes every day.”

“I learned to learn,” Orselli said. “We go and learn and ask for help and feedback.”

The feedback helps them chart the course for Mora’s future.

“We started from the beginning with the idea of doing this one day, growing this business,” Perez-Pisarra said.

“We didn’t start with a mom-and-pop idea. You have to think big and long-term, but act small and short-term.”

If they find good locations that are affordable and timely, they will open stores in Seattle.

Above all, they say, they will continue to supervise all aspects of their business, greet customers and friends and pitch in where needed, whether it be mopping the floor or cutting the lemons.

On Bainbridge, they are happy to fill the dessert void and welcome customers from Bainbridge Performing Arts shows, the farmers market and other local events, as well as teens.

Orselli and Perez-Pisarra would like to take advantage of the parking lot space outside their store in the evenings and create a piazza setting.

They’re in discussion with their landlord about setting up tables and chairs there and having local musicians play.

“That’s Mora,” Perez-Pisarra said. “It’s not only about the ice cream. It’s about the experience of enjoying ice cream.”

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Here’s the scoop

Mora Iced Creamery’s Bainbridge location is open from 11 a.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Owners Ana Orselli and her husband, Gerardo Perez-Pisarra, will decide closing times based on customer response. Gift certificates and FexEx service to any U.S. city are available. Call 855-8822.

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