Dolcezza’s gelato factory and coffee lab will open March 21

This post has been updated.

Dolcezza's new gelato factory will swing open its doors Dec. 7 from 2 to 6 p.m. to offer freshly made samples of smoked bacon gelato and Stumptown coffees produced with posh Chemex coffeemakers. But after you've marveled at the airy space near Union Market, Dolcezza's staff will lock up the doors until spring.

After announcing a Dec. 7 opening date for the factory and coffee "lab," owners Robb Duncan and Violeta Edelman now say they will wait for warmer days and for more of their food-centric neighbors to open up, creating a better environment for the shop at 500 Penn St. NE. Update: The shop has announced that it will open March 21.


Violeta Edelman, left, and Robb Duncan opened their first Dolcezza in Georgetown in 2004. Now a chainlet with shops in Dupont Circle, Bethesda and Fairfax, Dolcezza's main hub of operations is moving to an industrial strip just behind Union Market. The shop is ready to go, but won't actually open till spring. (Lavanya Ramanathan/The Washington Post)

The 4,000- square-foot warehouse will be the production hub for the rapidly expanding business, which now includes four retail storefronts (in Bethesda, Georgetown, Dupont Circle and Fairfax's Mosaic complex), plus a large network of restaurants serving Dolcezza sweets.

All of the gelatos and sorbets had been produced in the Georgetown shop. "I worked next to a walk-in freezer for 10 years," says Edelman. Duncan and Edelman now say they can see their chain expanding to perhaps seven shops, as well as an online business, but that they're not striving for "a Dolcezza on every corner. That's not who we are," says Edelman.

The portion of the factory opening to the public -- perhaps as soon as March -- will have a capacity of 30 and will be the only location where you'll be able to snag fresh-off-the-line gelatos and sorbets, served in porcelain or glass dishes -- all the better to savor flavors such as crookneck pumpkin, dulce de leche, quince and, my personal oddball favorites, salt and lime-cilantro. Also of interest: The coffee lab where baristas will experiment with new brewing methods (including the Chemex). The program is currently being tested in a pop-up at the Mosaic complex that will continue for the next three months.


The production facility. (Lavanya Ramanathan/The Washington Post)

The fruits of the season are stacked up at Dolcezza's new Gelato Factory near Union Market. (Lavanya Ramanathan/The Washington Post)
Lavanya Ramanathan is a professional eater/drinker/thinker for Weekend and the Going Out Guide. University of Texas. Northwestern University. Rap fan.
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Margaret Ely | December 3, 2013