The owners picked Greenwich’s Cos Cob neighborhood as the home of their new gelato shop largely for its similarity to their native Italian town, Belluno.
“We fell in love with this place, its sense of community,” said Gelato & Cioccolato co-owner Lucio Lozza.
The gelato specialty shop opened last month at 232 E. Putnam Ave., across the street from Chicken Joe’s in the retail strip near Cos Cob Library. All flavors are made fresh on site, with options varying by day and sometimes created based on customers’ requests, Lozza said.
Recently, their offerings ranged from two types of vanilla, lemon and butter pecan to Oreo, Italian cookies and strawberry bacio. Within a few weeks, Gelato & Cioccolato has already become a popular place for an after-school snack or date night dessert. The shop was abuzz on a recent Tuesday afternoon with customers ranging from a mother who brought her son as a reward after doctors removed a wood chip he’d stuck up his nose to soccer teammates and a mother-daughter outing.
While it hasn’t yet attracted as many new customers as the owners anticipated, the amount of repeat business has “far exceeded our expectations,” Lozza said. “We have people who come every day. People are happy because it’s something the neighborhood didn’t have before — we’re adding something to Cos Cob.”
Nearby shops sell other cold treats, such as ice cream and frozen yogurt, so they’re keeping Gelato & Cioccolato exclusive to gelato, Lozza said.
Lozza and his co-owner Alessandro Uccelli are from Belluno, a mountain town in the northern Italian region of Veneto. Lozza moved from Italy to Scarsdale, N.Y., as a child. He has maintained ties with his friends and life in Italy while moving around the U.S. as a consultant and retail executive.
Meanwhile, Uccelli has established a popular gelato business in Italy, said Lozza, who moved to Greenwich five years ago. During a visit last fall, Uccelli noticed that Greenwich didn’t have the sort of vibrant gelato shop he thought they could provide.
Together, Uccelli and Lozza decided to open Gelato & Cioccolato, picking Cos Cob for its sense of close-knit community that reminds them of home. Inside, scenic photos of Italy decorate a lime green-painted wall. The cozy shop lacks inside seating but many customers stop to eat their gelato on a bench outside.
In addition to the shop, the owners invested in a Gelato & Cioccolato cart they hope to use for catering events, such as private parties.
“I’ve always had a passion to start something like this,” Lozza said. “This is my first time in the food business, but I like the relationship I get to have with our consumers.”
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