Tucked away in the Andover Village Square, the new Mr. Gelato Café brings a little piece of Italy to downtown Andover. Rich, flavored gelato, fluffy, golden crêpes and steaming hot espresso are some of the desserts served at the café.
After 40 years in the foodservice industry, Peter Kekedi, a resident of Methuen, Mass., opened Mr. Gelato Café this past summer. The courtyard setup of the newly renovated Andover Village Square inspired Kekedi to open a gelato shop instead of a restaurant.
“If I were in a different location, I might have an Italian restaurant instead of a gelato store. I actually hadn’t wanted to open a gelato store, I wanted to open a restaurant, but I saw this space, and I had a dream in my head: I saw [that] this would be a great place for gelato and crêpes,” said Kekedi.
Kekedi is devoted to serving authentic gelato with high quality ingredients at Mr. Gelato Café.
“I serve pistachio gelato and mine is from Sicily, so it uses Sicilian pistachios,” said Kekedi. “Pistachio is the best-known gelato in Italy. If your pistachio gelato is good, then everything else should be good. If the pistachio is not good, then [customers] are already concerned that you’ll be no good, because that’s one of the hardest gelatos to make.”
Sticking to Italian authenticity, Kekedi serves gelato that is made with machinery originating in Italy. This attention to detail has helped attract customers, who, according to Kekedi, most often order the mocha chip, smurf (blue vanilla gelato blended with crumbled Oreos cookies), and Bacio (chocolate hazelnut), flavors.
Akhil Rajan ’17 said, “I have had hazelnut ice cream before, but the difference with gelato is both of those two textures: the hardness of the hazelnuts and the soft, creaminess of the chocolate are exacerbated because gelato is much lighter and fluffier than ice cream.”
Alma Sterling ’17 said, “I got the dulce de leche, which I’ve never had as gelato, but I’ve had ice cream before that was that flavor. The gelato was really creamy and had a more palpable taste. I would definitely get it again.”
Mr. Gelato Café is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday.