One of Australia's favorite gelato shops will soon be scooping in Houston. Gelatissimo will make its U.S. debut with an outpost in Baybrook Mall this month with a grand opening to follow in early 2022.
Established in Sydney in 2002, Gelatissimo has grown to 40 stores across Australia with another 25 in countries such as the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, and India. Houston will be the company's first American location with a Hawaiian outpost scheduled to debut next year.
Flavors are made in-house at each location without artificial colors or flavors, according to a press release. The lineup includes signatures tastes such as Chunky New York Cheesecake and Wicked Double Choc Brownie along with vegan and reduced sugar options. For Houston, the company created a Bourbon Caramel and Pecan made with bourbon from local distillery Yellow Rose.
Franchisees Phanary Hok and Simon Stankevicius will be responsible for introducing Houstonians to Gelatissimo. Hok has experience in the food world as the operator of four Shipley Do-nuts franchises. Travels to Europe convinced the couple that Houston could use more gelato and tasting Gelatissimo proved its merits.
“I fell in love with the texture, flavor and the way it looked," Hok said in a statement. "You could taste the real ingredients; the strawberry really tasted like strawberry. We know Houstonians will fall in love with the gelato just like we did."
The Inner Loop is flush with gelato options like Sweet Cup, Dolce Neve, and Amorino, but the suburbs mostly feature ice cream shops. Compared to ice cream, gelato tends to have a creamier texture and lower butterfat content than its frozen cousin. Preferring one over the other is a matter of taste, of course, which should help Gelatissimo draw fans who want to sample its wares.
"We feel the time is right to really ramp up our international presence and cement our brand on a world stage, starting with Houston,” Gelatissimo CEO Filipe Barbosa said. “With Phanary Hok and Simon Stankevicius at the helm, we are working with passionate franchise partners who really share our values.”