Founders of A Tavola to open gelateria in Madeira

La Grassa gelateria will focus on traditional Italian gelato.

Jun 27, 2017 at 3:17 pm

click to enlarge Jared Wayne (left) and business partner John Berman.
Jared Wayne (left) and business partner John Berman.

Jared and Nick Wayne, founders of A Tavola and Taglio, are stepping away from their wood-fired pizza ovens momentarily to launch a new venture: an authentic Italian gelateria.

Named for the city in Italy where gelato production was industrialized, La Grassa Gelateria will offer Madeira a taste of Bologna — nicknamed “the fat one” or “la grassa” for its delicious food. The storefront will feature housemade gelato and sorbetto to be scooped into traditional cones, cups and pints. Similar to Taglio and A Tavola, which has a second location in Madeira, La Grassa will be “made by hand, inspired by travel.”

In the past, the Waynes’ annual trips to Italy were devoted to exploring the craft of pizza making, but they managed to find room for one more Italian staple in their diets on a tour of Northern Italy.

“Every trip and every day there ended with gelato,” says John Berman, their partner in the new venture.

It was there that the two brothers decided gelato would be the perfect complement to their expanding Italian eateries.

La Grassa’s product has been shaped by Bologna. The brothers and Berman each traveled to the city, taking time to learn the art of gelato from the masters. Through one-on-one instruction at Carpigiani Gelato University, the team developed a product that focuses on flavor. 

Essentially the original ice cream, gelato differs from what Americans know, and that difference lies in the base. While ice cream’s buttermilk coats the tongue, blocking taste bud receptors, gelato’s milk frees the mouth to truly taste. It has the “same flavor on the first bite as the last bite,” says Berman. Gelato has less fat than traditional ice cream and is churned at a much slower rate, so less air is incorporated resulting in a thicker, denser dessert.

Back in the states, the team set out to make the menu. The first flavor was salted caramel. Though conceptualized early, its formula was perfected over two years. On the days a successful batch was made, lucky customers and employees at A Tavola Madeira, located next door to the new gelato shop, had the pleasure of a taste test.

“If they see me running around upstairs, they know it’s going to be a good day,” says Berman.

The gelato now has a place on the menus at A Tavola and Taglio. The restaurants offer three gelatos and one sorbetto. Standard flavors include chocolate and their original salted caramel, but through quiet experimentation, La Grassa has developed nearly 30 flavors, such as pistachio and espresso, that few people have had the pleasure of tasting.

Berman hopes to open the Madeira location by mid-July and expand to multiple storefronts in coming years. La Grassa’s menu will open with eight gelatos and four sorbettos. The small-batch selection will feature fresh ingredients and flavors that shift with the seasons.

LA GRASSA gelateria will be located at 7014 Miami Ave., Madeira. More info: 513-271-9000.