Background: Gelato Paradiso
Chances are you’ve recently walked along the 900 block of Orange Avenue and noticed the construction between Burger Lounge and Celtic Corner. Tentatively scheduled to open in early December is Gelato Paradiso. Touted on its website as a “cozy, wood-paneled dessert shop offering gourmet flavors of Italian gelati & sorbetto made in-house,” the new Coronado location will be the fourth corporate Gelato Paradiso to open. (Starting in Orange County in 1999, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, and San Diego are home to the three other Gelato Paradisos.)
As construction continues, Gelato Paradiso Store Manager Petra Cornelius took time out of her busy schedule to give The Coronado Times the scoop on the new eatery set to launch here in the Crown City, including a behind the scenes tour of the remodeled retail space. As she gave a tour, she also explained that along with the unveiling of the new store, will come a brand new logo! “We’re really excited about the look of our new website, logo, and store.” Gesturing to the space still full of construction workers hard at work, she says, “This will be a flagship store for us moving forward.”
Since opening the San Diego location, Petra, who’s from America’s Finest City, shares that Gelato Paradiso has been looking for the perfect place to expand. When the opportunity presented itself to open a Gelato Paradiso in neighboring Coronado, it was an easy decision for Petra and her Gelato Paradiso team to decide that this was the right place to open another storefront. “We looked at other places, including La Jolla and Del Mar, and almost pulled the trigger, but Coronado was the place we were most excited about. Our business model works well in beach communities with the right mix of tourists and locals,” she says.
What can Coronado residents and visitors expect when they step foot into Gelato Paradiso’s newest location? Petra answers, “First and foremost, they can expect authentic Italian gelato made on site. We have over thirty flavors, and import 85% of our ingredients from Italy. The recipes are Sicilian, and we learned from the Sicilians in 1999 how to make gelato the way they prepare it there. The same recipes still carry over today.”
Continuing, Petra says, “They can expect really great customer service. Although we’re a corporate store, we run it like a mom and pop store. We’re very engaged with our customers, and I’ve found that we have the best customers in the business. At our downtown store we have a lot of regulars, and that’s one of my favorite aspects about Gelato Paradiso.”
With over thirty flavors, what are Petra’s personal top three? “Pistachio is hands down my favorite. I think it’s our best flavor! My second, right now, is the butter pecan. We only serve that seasonally so when it’s out, I eat a lot of it. We have a new chocolate sorbet that is dairy free that just blows my mind,” she shares.
What, in Petra’s opinion, are the three most unique flavors that customers can expect? “Each store has twenty-five of the same flavors, and then each store is allowed to pick and choose the remaining five flavors that they put out based on season or what customers like. We do a lot of unique flavors for some of our wholesale clients like the Marine Room in La Jolla, where we’ve done a Rose Water Saffron for them. We’ve created a Wild Flower with Honey flavor, a Strawberry Balsamic flavor, and we’re currently working on an Amaretto flavor for our Coronado opening.
Customers can expect that new flavors will consistently be making their debuts at Gelato Paradiso. “We’re always going to have our standard, popular Italian flavors, but at the same time, we like introducing new flavors, giving customers something new and different to try,” Petra says.
Even though gelato and sorbet are decadent, cold treats, Gelato Paradiso “strives” to make their desserts as all natural as possible. As an example, Petra discusses the Mint Chip flavor of gelato. “It’s a white mint paste, and when we make it, it looks the same as our Chocolate Chip. To distinguish it from the Chocolate Chip, we like our Mint Chip to be green. To give it that green color, we use an all natural spinach powder rather than food coloring,” she explains.
Other Menu Items
In addition to gelato, Coronado’s Gelato Paradiso guests will be pleased to learn that other menu items will also be available. Petra shares, “We serve gelato and sorbet. Sorbettos are dairy free, all natural, and are all mostly fruit based with the exception of the chocolate. Our waffle cones are made fresh on site and hand rolled.”
“We will also be serving shakes with or without espresso. Additionally we will offer affogatos, gelato drenched in espresso, and we serve artisinal cakes,” Petra says.
Coffee connoisseurs will delight in the espressos, double shots, and lattes that will be served at Gelato Paradiso. “Our coffee menu is very basic, replicating what you would find in Sicily,” Petra offers.
With another gelato establishment within walking distance of the new Gelato Paradiso, what will set Gelato Paradiso apart from Nado Gelato? “Nado Gelato has a pretty similar concept. They make their gelato on site and import their ingredients. I think their product is great, and I think there are enough customers for both of us,” Petra remarks.
She continues, “I think what will set us apart is the amount of flavors we have, over thirty. They’re very beautifully displayed with curls and swirls, and they look artistic. We allow for four flavors in a cup/three flavors in a cone for the same price as one flavor. That’s something that we’re really proud of. When we offer so many flavors, it’s often hard for people to just pick one or two so we let them pick up to four.”
While the Coronado price menu has yet to be set in stone, Petra says that prices will most likely be $4.25 for a small, $4.75 for a medium, and $5.25 for a large, with cones costing an additional $1.00. “We may increase prices in the new year, but it’s too early to tell yet,” Petra says, noting that increases in labor costs may be a factor when determining prices at Gelato Paradiso.
Open for Business/Hours of Operation
While the official grand opening won’t take place until after the New Year, Gelato Paradiso will have a soft opening in December. “We’re hoping to offer some mock services where instead of charging customers it will be free so we can train our staff. During our mock services, instead of paying Gelato Paradiso, we will have a donation jar where customers can contribute to the Coronado Schools Foundation,” Petra says.
Gelato Paradiso’s business hours will most likely be the same as their San Diego location’s operating hours, from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm during the week and 11:00 am to 10:00 pm on the weekends. “In the summer, we typically extend our hours by an hour or two,” Petra says, adding, “If it’s busy, we stay open.”
Giving Back to the Coronado Community
Besides donating money from the mock opening to the Coronado Schools Foundation, Gelato Paradiso has even bigger plans of giving back to the Crown City. “Each store is very connected to the community through volunteer programs, in which we actually support our employees volunteering in the community, and pay them per hour to volunteer. That money then gets collected by the Bridge program, and those funds get donated at the end of the year to whatever charity or community event they choose. Last year our three Gelato Paradisos were able to work together and raise almost $6,000. We wrote checks to the charities our employees chose, which is really significant. It’s not just authentic Italian gelato we serve, it’s love. Our tagline is: Love. Passion. Gelato.”
The San Diego location of Gelato Paradiso will be sending some of its production/artisan employees over to Coronado for training, and, in the meanwhile, Gelato Paradiso will be hiring baristas. “Anyone who is of high school age or older is encouraged to apply over the next few weeks,” Petra says. To apply, contact Petra Cornelius directly. (See additional information at the conclusion of article for contact information.)
Wholesale and Catering
Although Gelato Paradiso’s storefront will be new to Coronado, their delicious offerings are already served at Loews Coronado Bay Resort. On September 8, 2017 guests who attended Loews’ Play on the Bay event were treated to some of Gelato Paradiso’s favorite flavors.
“For restaurants and businesses who want to offer gelato, but don’t want to make it on site,” they can contact us, and we will deliver gelato to them weekly. That’s what we do with Loews,” Petra explains of Gelato Paradiso’s wholesale business options.
Having a party at home, and want dessert catered? Gelato Paradiso is proud to offer catering services as well.
Want to Win Free Gelato for an Entire Year?
In honor of the new store opening in Coronado, Gelato Paradiso is giving away free gelato for a year to five lucky people! Click here to fill out an entry form and like Gelato Paradiso on Facebook or follow them on Instagram to enter the contest.
Gelato Paradiso’s Website: www.gelatoparadiso.com
Petra Cornelius, Store Manager
- Office: (619)238-0307
- Cell: (951)288-4186
- Fax: (949)724-9887
- email: [email protected]