All original photos on this page by #HallandaleBeachBlog, a.k.a. #SouthBeachHoosier, October 2016.
SAVE THE DATE! #Sunday, #October #23rd 2016 #tasta #gelato arrives in the #florida Come and join us for a #free #taste of the #authentic #Gelato made with the #best raw materials 2033 #Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, #FL 33020 Tasta - Gelato & #Cafeteria Hollywood #food #sweet #miami #miamibeach #southbeach #icecream #italy #fortlauderdale #broward #instagood #instafood #foodblogger #foodlover
Yes, it all started with ice cream cones...
After opening six very successful Tasta Gelato boutiques throughout Italy and Sicily since 2010, with their first in the Flamingo family hometown of Modica in Sicily, following a decision by the family to diversify its role within the gelato industry, Peppe and four of his longtime friends -one from Rome and three fellow Sicilians- all friendly, business-savvy and very well-educated, became business partners. Together, the five of them set their eyes on opening Tasta Gelato's first location in the United States.
Well, NOT New York, Boston, Chicago or any of several large American cities with a large Italian-American heritage, populace or large consumer market, though those all would have been pretty logical guesses, and what you might've expected to hear from the business press.
No, instead, these five longtime friends put their heads together and decided that their dream would be made here in the sunshine of South Florida and the Miami area.
But where exactly?
Together, they thought long and hard about their personal and business priorities and goals and what sort of location and atmosphere would best serve BOTH their business plan and their future customers.
What they did next is something that could be viewed as quite unconventional by recent South Florida business standards - consciously choosing to eschew the Usual Suspects, placing their chips and emotional and financial futures on Downtown Hollywood, and Hollywood Boulevard in particular.
Consider the economic ramifications and morale boost to Hollywood of Tasta's decision to locate its first U.S. location there, when so many entrepreneurs and businesses looking to locate in South Florida have adopted a default reaction of saying, essentially: "Well, let's just put a location in South Beach or Wynwood. They have lots of tourists..."
That's something that I have seen many times previously, first-hand, in other places I have lived: Bloomington, Indiana when I was at school at Indiana University, in Chicago and Evanston in Illinois, and in Washington, D.C. and next door Arlington County, VA, some of the hippest, wealthiest, well-educated and upscale locales in all of America.
But these five friends and business partners from Italy I've come to know of late have actually done their homework!
They've chosen to put their money, hard work and years of savvy consumer and technical expertise behind their very talented friend, Peppe, whose goal is a simple one: To make the best-tasting gelato in the world -with raw materials that are natural.
Whether you speak Italian or not, highly suggest you watch this episode of #NaturalmenteSicilia, wherein Peppe Flamingo opens the door to the #TastaLab, and explains both the ideals and history of Tasta Gelato and what some of the secrets are behind their popular ice cream.
But understanding Italian definitely helps with this laudatory magazine article, though you can always use Google Translate - though the great photos need no translation!
Mangereste un gelato che si chiama Signor Calacauso?
(You would eat an ice cream called Mr. Calacauso?)
"Why is our gelato natural?Our products are made using organic milk, unrefined cane sugar, and organic carob powder. We never use food preservatives, colorings or additives."Trust me, you can taste the difference -and the quality- from the very first bite.
Days before the Grand Opening on October 23rd, after telling co-partner George my particular favorite ice cream tastes, his intuition told him to offer me a sample of something that nailed my taste preference in one fell swoop: Sette e mezzo with hazelnut, crunchy and gianduja, below.
Peppe's proud first Instagram post after last Sunday's Grand Opening in Hollywood was to the point, and recognized the hard work of all five friends over the past 18 months to make that day more than a dream, but a reality:
Solo 1 dollaro. Il primo dollaro. Qui dentro ci sono 18 mesi di speranze, lavoro, gioia spesso seguita o anticipata da scoramento, enorme spirito di sacrificio, pazienza e laboriosità. Nessuno ci ha detto come andrà, ma noi ci abbiamo creduto e l'abbiamo voluto. Ed oggi siamo qui. Siamo al 2033 di Hollywood Boulevard. A 10km da Miami Beach. A 8000km da Modica. A un passo dal sogno. Speriamo di non svegliarci presto adesso ❤️ #firstdollar #tasta #gelato #café #coffee #chocolate #italy #italian #newopening #cafeteria #hollywood #florida #miami #fortlauderdale #sun
"The first dollar.
Here we are 18 months in hopes, work, joy often followed or preceded by discouragement, huge sacrifice, patience and hard work.
Nobody told us how it goes, but we believed it and we wanted to.
And we are here today.
We are at 2033 Hollywood Boulevard.
10km from Miami Beach.
A 8000km from Modica.
One step from the dream.
We hope we do not wake up early now ❤️"
Or, as Nobel Prize-winning author Paolo Coelho once put it:
"It's the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting."
In the end, the five partners decided they wanted to locate their business, the first Tasta boutique in the U.S., in an area of South Florida where local neighborhoods and a neighborhood sensibility still matter to the people who live and work there.
A place where the concept of a viable central downtown shopping area that offers something for everyone still largely exists, though not without its ups-and-downs.
And finally, they decided they wanted to locate their business in a neighborhood where people were sociable and constantly out-and-about, so they would NOT be so highly dependent and hostage to visiting tourists to make or break their business.
They wanted some degree of "stability," and the ability to develop long-term neighborhood "regulars" who come by by themselves, with their family or friends.
People who would not only patronizethe business themselves, but love to be able to bring visiting family and friends around during the upcoming holidays and say to them, essentially, "This is what we have here in Hollywood. What do you have in your town that can even compare to the briliance of this?"
No, you on't have to be Nostradamus to know that this place will be very popular during the holidays, as locals show-off their new Downtown jewel.
And the idea that there was free parking available in the Downtown Hollywood area during the day for three hours -and even longer after 8 PM- only helped make the partners decision easier.
They have the freedom to actually shop at and financially support unique and innovative businesses of the sort that they have forever been claiming at government meetings and in emails to me that they wanted to have nearby -but which almost always overlooked them/us- and that includes new and exciting entrepreneur-led businesses like Tasta, whose five partners have made a very conscious choice to locate in Downtown Hollywood, when the reality is that they could have gone elsewhere in South Florida.
A final word from me, someone who has come to know these five young entrepreneurs a tiny bit, and have heard them talk out loud about their ideas for the future.
Like, for instance, their plans to greatly expanding their menu offerings in the future, because unlike so many extant businesses in this area, they don't want to place limits on what they can offer, just because others have not chosen to do so, or been successful at it.
(More details on those forthcoming menu additions will be on the blog soon: with photos of delicious things to come!)
These five people are clearly among the sharpest and most-creative minds I've met since leaving the Washington D.C. area in late 2003 and returned to South Florida. Really.
Whatever you do, don't wait to be the last person in your circle of friends to come by Tasta, and see for yourself what a difference great natural products, high quality control and friendly customer service can make when you offer the public delicious natural food products that literally make you stand in awe.
Don't wait for the positive word-of-mouth from your Foodie friends or your cook-up-a-storm neighbors, or the soon-to-come glowing newspaper and TV reviews.
The ones that will, inevitably, cause even more people to claim to have "discovered" it first.
No, what you faithful blog readers in South Florida need to do now is show some initiative and enthusiasm and simply do what so many of you have told me for years that you'd do if ever given half-a-chance: patronize new, different and exciting things in our area that have the means of changing the very dynamic of the area we live in.
Especially when it comes in the form of an innovative, socially-conscious company offering the public such consistently delicious taste in so many forms.
And friendly customer service!
Be the #EarlyAdopter that you've forever been telling me that you really were.
If you do, I suspect you will become a Tasta true-believer, too.
Tasting is believing!
A presto! (See you soon!)