A common sense public policy overview from David in South Florida, offering a critical perspective on the current events, politics, govt./public policy, sports and pop culture of the U.S., #SoFL and Europe, esp. the #UK, #Sweden and #France, via my life in #Texas, #Memphis, #Miami, #IU, #Chicago, #WashingtonDC & #SoFL. In particular, #Broward & #MiamiDade County, and the cities of #HallandaleBeach, #HollywoodFL & #Aventura. Trust me when I tell you, this part of Florida is NOT the Land of Lincoln.

Photo in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A, September 2008; March 2018 photo below of HB's North Beach and southern Hollywood Beach, looking left-to-right, looking north, HYDE Condominium, Etaru Japanese Robatayaki restaurant, and Hollywood Beach in the distance, with umbrellas. All photos by me, © Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Monday, October 31, 2016

How & why #Italy's @tastagelato's first location in the U.S. is a huge coup for #HollywoodFL & #SoFL consumers, #Foodies & families -and a powerful magnet in creating a more dynamic, innovative Downtown Hollywood; Tasta Gelato Naturale

How & why #Italy's @tastagelato's first location in the U.S. is a huge coup for #HollywoodFL & #SoFL consumers, #Foodies & families -and a powerful magnet in creating a more dynamic, innovative Downtown Hollywood; Tasta Gelato Naturale

Tasta Gelato & Cafeteria, 2033 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, FL 33020

All original photos on this page by #HallandaleBeachBlog, a.k.a. #SouthBeachHoosier, October 2016.

Above, the five longtime friends from Italy who have become business partners and put their chips firmly on Downtown Hollywood's future, and the potential to spotlight the best-tasting gelato in the world: Tasta Gelato Naturale - all natural, with no preservatives.

Above, in center, Giuseppe "Peppe" Flamingo, the 33-year old Master Gelato Maker, or Granita, for Tasta Gelato Naturale. He is the third-generation member of an Italian family that has been intimately involved with the Italian Gelato industry for over 55 years, starting in 1960 when they began producing their high-quality ice cream cones for Italy's most-popular gelato makers.
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. 
But where?

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 attitude has been the default position of so many out-of-town businesses that don't do 
their homework -unlike what these five friends and partners have done- and yet that attitude of businesses doing what's easiest also explains why so many innovative retail concepts in South Beach, Wynwood, Palmetto Bay and Boca Raton don't work out, because they didn't know their consumer universe as well as they think they do.

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?)

As of today, Tasta Gelato offers roughly 9 Vegan-friendly Gelato flavors, plus 24 others for a total of 33. It also offers a Breakfast menu, including many kinds of coffee, Muffins, Danish, Cinnamon buns, and five different kind of delicious sandwiches, Cheese Pockets, Tiramisu and Cheesecake.

I will admit that I have been happy to be a small part of their experiment to devise the best-tasting cheesecake imaginable. You know me, I'm all for #innovation!

In my case, above, the delicious cheesecake "experiment" actually required two different small samples to help me decide which was best. 
And they were both amazing.
Clearly, I will have to taste more! :-)

Tasta Gelato uses only products from local farmers using free-range cows that are NOT exploited or housed in unsanitary conditions, and uses biodegradable and compostable gelato cups, spoons and sticks.
"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:

"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."

A photo posted by Peppe Flamingo (@peppeflamingo) on

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.

Instead of doing the easy thing, they've taken a chance on Downtown Hollywood and its efforts to become something considerably more sophisticated, ambitious and, dare I say, worldly, than what it is now.
Now, the discerning people of Hollywood, Hallandale Beach, Aventura, Golden Beach and Pembroke Pines who have always claimed that they wanted something unique or even iconic in their part of South Florida have a choice -the opportunity to actually put their own words and beliefs into action.

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.
Or anywhere else in the United States.
And been welcomed with open arms!

Given the very close walking distance between Tasta Gelato and so many things that draw large crowds in Hollywood's Downtown area, esp. the Young Circle/ArtsPark two blocks away, whether Monday night's very popular weekly Food Trucks event that's long drawn fans from neighboring cities, or the very popular Friday Night Funtastic Friday's for Kids events, and the ArtsPark Movie Nights afterwards, Tasta could hardly be more of a bulls-eye and magnet for the particular kind of consumer-friendly businesses that city officials, the Hollywood CRA and the Downtown business community has actively been courting and desperately praying for: One that lures families and singles who are actively interested in something out-of-the-ordinary because of the consistent quality and customer service they receive.

In the case of Tasta, that comes via an out-of-the ordinary deliciousness in the form of gelato and other natural treats that people will quickly become addicted to! 
As I can say from experience! :-)

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!)


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