City Gelato serves up its fresh flavors all over the city
Why gelato? For Mario Lozanov, it’s more than just a business. After being laid off from his chemist research job and meeting an Italian Baton Rouge entrepreneur, a gelato career presented itself. With his affinity for chemicals, experimenting, and most importantly, food—Lozanov and City Gelato made a perfect pair.
Starting out on Chimes Street, it was difficult for City Gelato to become successful initially. Parking on the one-way street is minimal and there is not enough foot traffic to reach customers. After the business’s original owner decided to return to Italy and leave Lozanov as manager, Lozanov made the decision to invest his money into food carts.
City Gelato is now housed by LSU’s food incubator, which Lozanov believes is a great idea. The incubator provides grants for small businesses and allows them to grow, as well as ensuring that the product is always fresh and locally made without preservatives. When the small businesses develop over time, they are then able to transition into their own facilities. LSU is able to put to use older buildings that were vacant and small businesses receive the tools to help them find success.
“It’s a win-win for everybody,” Lozanov added.
Fresh fruit such as strawberries, blueberries, peaches and cantaloupe, among others, are sourced from several Louisiana farms. Each flavor is free of GMOs and chemicals. If you are not able to visit one of the cart’s locations, City Gelato also sells pints of gelato in local grocery stores such as Calandro’s, Calvin’s, Maxwell’s Market, Alexander’s Highland Market, Matherne’s, Bet-R, Rouse’s and Spanish Town Market. The Little Village and several other restaurants in town offer City Gelato to their customers. New pint flavors for the summer include coconut and limoncello.
“I’ve fallen in love with gelato. Gelato is a great product,” Lozanov said. “It is nutritionally balanced in comparison to ice cream with its protein, fat and sugar content and all of the flavors are natural.”
The three City Gelato carts travel all over Baton Rouge: to festivals, parks, the farmers market every Saturday morning and even private events. The Main Library at Goodwood is a popular spot for gelato and attracts children and families every day after school. The cart is parked outside of the front doors seven days a week.
“I saw an opportunity. We just didn’t have it here,” said Lozanov. He explained that Baton Rouge is a perfect location for his business, because it was previously lacking in gelato and provides nice weather most of the year for the outdoor business.
“At my previous job, I was disconnected from life in the lab every day. Now I have much more impact. And it’s fun!”
Photos by Jessica Schlorke