Next new place to eat/drink at Alki Beach: Gelarto expanding to West Seattle with gelato, espresso, more

Gelarto Italian Ice Cream and Global Arts, founded on Bainbridge Island, is expanding to add an Alki Beach location.

We discovered this in the city permit files over the weekend, with remodeling work planned at 2648 59th SW, former home of Alki Beach Dog. After sending a note to Gelarto’s proprietors, we went by the Alki site this morning to look, and found “COMING SOON – GELARTO” information already up in the window. We have since heard back from co-proprietor Jennifer Al-Abboud, who shared a detailed backstory:

We love West Seattle and considered moving there when searching for a home back in 2012. We were teaching overseas at the time, and there was very little inventory during our short search window so we landed in Poulsbo and ended up on Bainbridge where we now reside in a tiny 607 SF condo we share with our cat Jazz. We opened Gelarto in late August 2013 amidst threat of teacher layoffs, and we have since retired from teaching to pursue our gelato passion full time. We pride ourselves on having a strong owner presence, and we run the shop by ourselves with exception of the busy summer months.

Gelarto has been well received on Bainbridge Island, but our product offerings are limited due to a voluntary good-neighbor policy with the cafe next door. Despite strong community support, a seasonal product in a seasonal location proves challenging in the slow months when our small shop requires only one of us to run it. So in order to maximize our human resources and provide year-round sustainability, we decided to reach out across the water in search of a second location. While we intend to stay small and independent, we always felt West Seattle would be a natural fit for our family business if we ever decided to expand, so we started pounding the pavement in November.

We spent nearly every Tuesday exploring the area, and on our last day off for the winter, we took a long walk from Alaska Junction to Alki and back, and this is when we discovered the Alki Beach Dog vacancy. It was the perfect location, but the Seattle permitting process is indeed a challenge. It has been a short but intense roller-coaster ride, but with health and building plan approval, we hope to bring artisan-quality gelato to this unique beach neighborhood in early May.

Having tasted gelato all over the world, we are very particular about our product, and our research found the highest-quality Italian gelato right here in Seattle at D’Ambrosio’s Gelateria, a father-son operation based in Ballard. Following the Italian tradition, Marco and Enzo make gelato the way it was intended to be made: from scratch, in small batches with local organic dairy and natural ingredients. They do not use base mixes common in the frozen dessert industry, and their gelato and dairy-free sorbets contain no artificial coloring or flavoring. They use local ingredients where available, and they import their coffee, dark chocolate, Sicilian pistachios and Piedmont hazelnuts from Italy.

… The Alki location will allow us to offer a full espresso bar to complement our gelato, including D’Ambrosio’s decadent Italian hot chocolate. Additionally, we are exploring the possibility of serving waffles in the fall and winter. Gofres, as they are known in Europe, are often paired with gelato and would offer a warm alternative for the cooler months.

We are thrilled to become part of the West Seattle community and hope it is as welcoming as Bainbridge. The two communities share similar demographics with well-traveled locals and tourists from all over the world, and each shoreline is visible from the other, so we already feel connected.

You might recall that the building has been proposed for replacement with a mixed-use development. That project completed the first stage of Design Review last summer but hasn’t gone to the second stage yet. Al-Abboud says they have a lease running at least through the next two summers.

20 Replies to "Next new place to eat/drink at Alki Beach: Gelarto expanding to West Seattle with gelato, espresso, more"

  • peeb March 30, 2015 (3:44 pm)

    I, for one, will welcome you with open arms!

  • LNew March 30, 2015 (3:55 pm)

    I second peeb’s comment. Yum.

  • ws suzanne March 30, 2015 (5:02 pm)

    I’ll be one of your very first customers lining up at your door! :)

  • m March 30, 2015 (5:38 pm)

    Excited but a little confused. Do they make their own gelato or do they sell d’ambrosios?

  • JW March 30, 2015 (8:22 pm)

    Have enjoyed their gelato and sorbeto while visiting Bainbridge. Very nice couple. Happy to welcome them to WS.

  • Jennifer Al-Abboud March 30, 2015 (10:08 pm)

    Thank you West Seattle Blog for spreading the word, and for all of your enthusiastic support. To clarify, we sell D’Ambrosio’s gelato. We considered making it ourselves but after careful research, we decided “Why compete with the best?”

  • Morris March 30, 2015 (10:22 pm)

    I’ve been to Gelarto on BI and it’s awesome.

  • JanS March 31, 2015 (12:39 am)

    the story says 2548 59th…wouldn’t it actually be 2648?

    • WSB March 31, 2015 (1:04 am)

      Typo, sorry, fixing.

  • Colby March 31, 2015 (7:30 am)

    Alki is becoming a “Danger Zone!” (Archer reference) for yum food as of late.

    Welcome to the neighborhood!

  • Tomas March 31, 2015 (8:38 am)

    I moved from Ballard last year and I was sorely missing D’Ambrosio’s gelato. I’m THRILLED to hear it’ll be available in West Seattle now, it really is the best gelato I’ve ever had.

  • Wsrez March 31, 2015 (10:02 am)

    While it would be great to see a healthier option besides donuts, ice cream and gelato on Alki, I guess they have to cater to tourists and what they’re seeking in the summer months. I hope they do really well!

  • Paula March 31, 2015 (12:59 pm)

    I would love to see some nice fresh salads and sandwiches on fresh artisan rolls. Not always in the mood for burgers, fried fish, or pizza.

  • Jennifer Al-Abboud March 31, 2015 (1:14 pm)

    The good news: Gelato has half the fat and calories of ice cream. The higher serving temperature gives it a creamier texture and the slower churning process gives it a denser consistency and more intense flavor. The result is a wonderful irony: a healthier product that tastes richer and creamier than other frozen desserts and has universal appeal. While we appreciate our summer crowds, we deeply value our year-round local supporters as well.

  • jeunglady March 31, 2015 (1:15 pm)

    Ready for some affogato! Bring it on! YUM!

  • Cycleaman March 31, 2015 (2:18 pm)

    ANOTHER place for espresso on Alki?!?!?! Enough already

  • AC March 31, 2015 (3:43 pm)

    Hooray! Now I don’t have to drive to Ballard or Capitol Hill for my gelato fix!

  • Heather March 31, 2015 (6:32 pm)

    I have personally always believed that gelato is healthy and should be consumed relatively frequently. :)

  • Fran Civile April 3, 2015 (9:25 am)

    Great! Gelato made with local dairy and natural ingredients, as described by Jennifer Al-Abboud, is a great treat. I’ll be walking by there to watch the progress!


  • Ray West April 4, 2015 (7:45 am)

    If this was just another espresso place, I’d be screaming my head off about another carbon copy biz going in. But gelato would be great.

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