Perth-based business Joelato, owned by couple Joe and Lucie Sykes, is opening a second business in the capital, in the former premises of long term resident Take It Away Spud at 31 North West Circus Place.
This follows their year-long residency, which has involved serving scoops of sea salted chocolate sorbet, vanilla mascarpone and Mexican coffee, among other inventive flavours, to customers at the Bonnie & Wild Market at St James Quarter.
That destination has provided the ideal testing ground, and they’ll continue in that unit. However, it was time to go bigger. Think two scoops, instead of one.
“Ever since we started Joelato in 2019, our aim has been to have our own gelateria, ideally in an area like Stockbridge. Bonnie & Wild has given us the confidence and skills we needed to run our own, slightly larger premises. For us, this is the perfect location. It has a fantastic community, many superb independent shops, and attractions such as the Botanics, Water of Leith, and Inverleith Park to pull in the tourists that a business such as needs to thrive,” says founder, Joe Sykes.
“The property came onto the market in July of this year, and we put in an offer the very day it became available. Simply put, we felt the location and dimensions of the shop were everything we could have wished for. We are a stone's throw from the Sunday market, surrounded by other wonderful shops and pretty close to the centre”.
The business, which started out as a food truck, is planning to open before the end of December. “If all goes well,” says Joe.
First of all, the interior is undergoing a revamp. The Humphrey Bogart window wrap, which referenced the baked potato shop’s punning name, is already in the bin.
The exterior paintwork will change from bright red to a classic cream, to complement their logo, and they’re thinking about going for a pistachio shade inside.
“We're aiming to recreate the feel of a classic, high quality Italian gelateria, with a timeless and welcoming feel. The gelateria that all of the locals go to. There will be a small amount of seating inside, and by the window,” says Joe.
They’ll be offering a wider selection of flavours than the Bonnie & Wild concession, as well as large tubs of some of the more popular varieties. These include Ferdi’s Flavour, which was made in 2020 as a tribute to the Sykes’s son, Ferdinand, who died at three days old, with proceeds going to baby loss counselling charity Held in Our Hearts. It’s a salted honey gelato, with honeycomb pieces, and has always been a bestseller.
This classic remains, but there are already a few new seasonal taste sensations in development, and not just in the gelato department.
“We are constantly developing new flavours and some of my current experiments include: marron glace gelato, brandy vanilla gelato, apple cider and cinnamon gelato, Pedro Ximenez and pecan praline gelato, and orange, rosemary and honey sorbet,” says Joe Sykes. “I have also been working on our own hot chocolate, which will be rich, with a very deep chocolate flavour. Also on our menu, customers will find our milkshakes, which have become very popular in Bonnie & Wild”.
They are made to order from whatever gelato flavour is available on the counter.
Since the new shop will be opening so close to Christmas, they also plan to sell a selection of festive flavours.
“We'll be offering pain d'épices (French gingerbread), spiced chocolate and sticky toffee pudding. We're also developing panettone gelato which I'm very excited about”, says Joe Sykes, who studied the art of making this treat, which differs from ice-cream in that it is primarily made from milk rather than cream, at Carpigiani Gelato University in Bologna, Italy.
Although they’ll soon have two branches in the capital, the couple are keen to reference their roots and their current home.
“We still make all of our gelato in Perthshire. We're very keen to emphasise our origins in our shop, which is why we will be serving coffee from Aberfeldy-based Glenlyon Coffee”, says Joelato’s owner. “ And of course, we will still be using Perthshire milk, cream and berries”.
Although the cost of living crisis is looming - “it’s hard not to be a little worried” - they hope that their quality offering will be a relatively affordable treat for customers.
If that proves to be the case and the launch goes well, there might soon be a triple scoop, with a potential third branch in Glasgow.
“It's tricky to plan too far into the future, but we are keen to have a shop there some day, says Joe. “We really got to know the city during our monthly deliveries and are so impressed with the food scene over there and the city in general. It feels so vibrant”.
For now, they’re concentrating on their two venues in Edinburgh. They’re confident that customers in this city won't be put off eating cold gelato in the depths of winter. We’re made of stern stuff in Scotland. I’m sure we can manage.
As Joe says; “Everyone knows it’s delicious all year round. And as someone once said, it’s best eaten in winter as, in summer, it melts”.
Joelato are currently offering home delivery, see the website for destinations and available flavours, www.joelato.co.uk
For updates on the new shop, follow them on Instagram @joelato_gelato