Gelato comes to the Oregon District

[Updated/ 12/07] When I was 16 my parents took me to Europe. We flew into Zagreb- in what was once the very Communist country of Yugoslavia, then to Northern Italy, Austria and finally a week at a resort on the Adriatic.

I fell in love twice on that trip- once with the gelato they sold on the streets of Trieste, and the second time with Elizabeth Wiltschegg- the most beautiful woman in the world. Elizabeth and I corresponded daily for two years- and then the realization of distance and cultures had us go our separate ways.

But, my love of gelato has never left me, and until tonight, my love has been unrequited- but, thanks to a college friend, Eric Opperman, and his wife Jules- I got to fall in love all over again- Dolcessa has come to Dayton- and they make gelato- wonderfully, smooth, creamy, tasty Italian style ice cream.

The melt in your mouth, silky smooth gelato is worth the trip- but they are also serving Panini sandwiches and gourmet coffee.

Their website isn’t up yet {15 Mar 07 it’s up} , www.dolcessa.com so here is what you need to know:

510 E. 5th Street, just to the West of the old Blue Moon location. Open Mon through Thursday 11am to 7pm [hours in February] and later on Friday and Saturdays. Closed on Sundays. Phone is 937-654-5855. They don’t take plastic- so bring cash, or prepare to walk over to the Trolley Stop to use their ATM.

They are moving to Brown Street- across from Burger King. It will be March 08 before they reopen. 

Prices for the gelato are $3.25 for two flavors, $3.75 for 3 and $4.25 for 4. Paninis are $5.99 [Prices  now  range between $5.49 and $6.99]

Eric and Jules are living and working downtown- and doing their part to make Dayton a great place to live. Go in and try some of their gelato- and find out what it’s like to fall in love at first bite.

If you stop in- tell them you read about them here. It’s a small experiment.

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15 Responses

  1. Phillip Ranly January 13, 2007 / 9:10 am
    Some friends and I made our way over there last night after some food and drinks at the Wine Gallery. The hazelnut and pistachio are fabulous. I’m happy to see something new open in the OD. I can’t comprehend that every store front isn’t filled down there. And I’m really excited to see what John Henry’s will be like.
  2. David Esrati January 13, 2007 / 12:53 pm

    I second the vote on the hazelnut. Had a Turkey a France Panini for lunch today- with turkey, apple and brie- absolutely fantastic. They are getting bread from another local legend, Rahn’s artisan breads. Very tasty.

  3. Jeff January 14, 2007 / 1:40 pm
    I remember “Italian ice” from my days in Germany, where it was quite the rage in the 1950s and ’60s. And also it was popular in the Bay Area when i lived there. Nice to see it come to Dayton.

    And I agree on Phillip’s comment on the 5th Street storefronts..the place should have better occupancy than it does given the location. Are the rents too high there or what?

  4. David Esrati January 14, 2007 / 3:07 pm

    Jeff- it’s not the rents- it’s the building codes and zoning regulations. Requiring x number of parking spaces per square foot of space within x distance makes it very hard to increase the occupancy rates. Since the area is historic- you can’t tear anything down to add parking. This could be solved by a single act of the City Commission, but that would require some actual problem solving skills.

    Lifting the liquor license cap would also help.

  5. Melissa January 16, 2007 / 11:35 am
    I “third” the vote for hazelnut … portions are more than genernous, and the little plastic cups they serve them in are so cute, I kept ours (they’re disposable). Might have to lift my ban on patronizing cash-only places for Dolcessa, because it really IS that good.
  6. Drexel Dave January 17, 2007 / 1:17 pm
    Its nice, but Dayton’s savior in the form of businesses will not be yuppy oriented establishments. The population just doesn’t exist.

    Take a clue from Cee-Cees Pizza. I can go into that place and spot Dayton Public School kids I’ve had on my bus all over the place.

    While it might be nice, Italian ice for $4.25 a pop isn’t going to cut it in this po-folks town.

  7. David Esrati January 17, 2007 / 1:47 pm

    Drexel,
    There can be something for everyone in Dayton.
    That’s like saying we should only have K99 and Hot102.9 for radio stations- or no Pine Club, cause we’ve got Outback.
    And- it’s not “Italian ice”- it’s Gelato- big difference, and it’s $3.25 for 2 flavors- ample portions.
    Quit being so negative-

  8. Jeff January 17, 2007 / 4:23 pm
    There is apparently a difference between the two, italian ice and gelato. The portions for the small size (3.25) are pretty fair.

    As for market, we’ll see. If people can pay a lot for those fancy coffee drinks you get at Starbucks, I guess this will sell too.

    Interestingly enough there used to be a number of soda shops and candy stores in Dayton back in the old days, before the Depression/WWII years…these were little neighborhood operations. One of the last apparently was an ice cream shop near Stivers. And i think the last soda fountain was in Dafflers on East Third…(not sure about that).

  9. Phillip Ranly January 17, 2007 / 5:30 pm
    I recently read a post on Urban Ohio about the commercial buildings of St. Annes Hill and what businesses occupied them over the years. I would kill for more of those little grocery stores and soda shops. I know there’s a few still around (of course David’s favorite, Halal in South Park!) but do you know of many others? In Gledale, Ohio there’s the most perfect market called Piazza Discepoli Wine & Food Merchants (they also make their own gelato). Dayton needs a place like this. Anyone else been there?
  10. David Esrati January 17, 2007 / 7:38 pm

    I freak people out all the time when I tell them my office used to be a Kroger- and that there were over 100 of them in Dayton. In NYC there are still little groceries- walk 2 blocks and pick up fresh meat, produce and fruit for dinner, it’s not truly progress if you ask me. The proposed new Kroger on Wayne Ave is another step in the wrong direction- I’d rather see a store built on the street- with the parking in the read- like Dorothy Lane Market in Oakwood, instead of behind a sea of asphalt.
    In the video we did for Historic South Park- I interviewed people who lived in South Park in the Fifties- we had several small restaurants, bars, a dry-cleaner, at least 4 groceries, etc. If you ask me, we’d do better with them back. Hopefully soon, I’ll have South Park Soliloquy on YouTube soon.

  11. Melissa January 18, 2007 / 10:21 am
    Up the road, on Wayne, (right next door to you, Drexel Dave!) used to be an indie movie theater and coffee shop – The Lemon Tree (? name?) My dad said he remembered seeing movies there back in the ’50s. Then it turned into a porno theater, then it was bulldozed and now it’s some generic chain video store. Ah, progress … (Sarcasm intended)
  12. Jeff January 18, 2007 / 7:35 pm
    If you liked the post at Urban Ohio on the corner stores surf in this Sunday evening as I should have by then posted a look at the decline and fall of neighborhood retail on 5th Street in St Annes Hill.

    David is correct about the plethora of Krogers. One of these was where that costume shop is, @ 5th & Dutoit. There were some A&Ps, too. And Kroger also had a big commercial bakery over in Edgemont.

    As for neighborhood retail today, there is some left, still. Oscar Beigel jewelers on Xenia Avenue is one place, and I use them for watch repair. This is perhaps one of the last neighborhood jewelers left in the city. Also on Xenia Avenue is Smales Preztles, which sells ’em by the sack to walk-in customers. Charlies market on Troy Street in Old North Dayton is also a place I use as they have some Polish and German things that are hard to find elsewhere.

    It is these local places that give a city its character in some respects, and thats one thing I like about places like Dolcessa, as it is a modern addition to the local/independent retail family, as well as having pretty good ice cream, er, I mean gelato! :) (next time I am going to try the pistachio nut flavor if they have any).

  13. nicole February 14, 2007 / 7:29 pm
    I have been trying to go for some time now, but can’t seem to stop there when it’s open. We called tonight for hours of operation, at 7, and they did not really give any, but said that they were already closed. I asked when they were open this weekend, and she said she was still unsure. It was a bummer that my boyfriend and I were going to try and bring back the memories of our trip to Rome this summer on Valentine’s Day, planned the evening around it, and then it was a bust.
  14. David Esrati February 14, 2007 / 7:38 pm

    A friend of mine works there- and says they’ve been closing at 7pm. I don’t think that’s late enough- so maybe, if enough people say something- we can get our late night gelato fixes in.
    I’ll note the hours change in the post.
    Sorry.

  15. Jules March 20, 2007 / 2:29 pm
    About the hours:
    We are open till 8pm M-TH (note: not ever till 7)
    Also we ARE open Sundays 12-5
    Fridays and Saturdays we are open at least till 9pm.
    We will be open later hours when the weather gets warmer.

    PS: we were closed only 2 days during February’s snow weather.
    PSS: Gelato is not an Italian ice, but rather luxurious/upscale creamy and dense frozen dessert.

    Thank you for your attention, Dolcessa.

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