By Howard Koplowitz
As a native of Italy, one of John Del Greco’s favorite things to do back in his homeland is to get a taste of gelato.
Now Del Greco and his family have opened up La Dolce Via, a Whitestone gelateria and café at 12-58 150th St. that aims to give fans of the creamy dessert a taste of the genuine Italian treat.
“I’m Italian, so every time we go to Italy, we taste delicious gelato,” Del Greco said. “When we come back to New York, it’s not here.”
Del Greco’s son, Michael, makes the more than 130 gelato flavors that are rotated at the shop while his wife, Maria Luisa, dishes up gelato cakes.
“Everything is home cooked,” he said. “My wife is a good cook and we love food. Her gelato is so good we brought it” to Whitestone.
Since La Dolce Via opened about nine months ago, Del Greco said Italians and others who have visited Italy rave that the Whitestone shop’s gelato is more delicious than the kind found in the country that created it.
“They actually say this is better than Italy, which is a nice compliment,” he said.
La Dolce Via always has 24 gelato flavors in rotation out of more than 130 that the shop has dished up so far.
Among the favorites, Del Greco said, are stracciatella (chocolate chip), pistachio, Nutella and nocciola [hazelnut], which are always in the rotation. For the Oscars, the shop featured popcorn gelato.
La Dolce Via also welcomes customer suggestions, with the shop making flavors such as chocolate-bacon, champagne, banana-chocolate, Guinness and green tea.
Del Greco said the shop tries to give patrons an Italian experience with its decor, which includes wall-to-ceiling murals of an Italian piazza and landscape.
La Dolce Via also has its own Vespa in the middle of the shop.
“When you’re walking in, you’re going to Italy except you’re not going through customs,” Del Greco said.
Like ice cream, a cousin of gelato, the shop has its version of the ice cream cone.
La Dolce Via bakes pizzelle, or homemade waffles, that can be sandwiched in between gelato.
In time for the nice weather, the Whitestone shop also has a giardino, or outdoor garden, to enjoy your gelato.
“It’s like you’re not even in Queens,” he said.
Aside from gelato, La Dolce Via also offers sorbetto [sorbet] in the summer made with fresh fruit, Del Greco said.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4573.