Café Gelato serves delicious food with an Italian flare
Opened on June 22, 2019, Café Gelato in Myrtle Beach serves some 14 flavors of handmade gelato, a creamier (and many say more delicious) Italian take on ice cream. Additionally, the hip and cosmopolitan cafe serves a menu full of creative breakfast, lunch and dinner options, with enough healthy choices to make an after-meal gelato indulgence a little less guilt-ridden. Lovers of hot breakfast sandwiches, hot and cold Italian sandwiches, Caprese salads, soups and classic American standards (such as the BLT on white toast) will find plenty from which to choose.
Locals may remember the TD Bank and Anchor Bank over the years that occupied the location at the corner of 79th Avenue North and Kings Highway in Myrtle Beach. Three local entrepreneurs, with their hands in real estate development and with a growing interest in also being restaurateurs, purchased the property three years before knowing how it might be developed.
“We weren’t quite sure what to do with it,” said Al Nardslico, one of three partners we spoke with while sitting outside at the cafe’s shaded, open-air patio. “At one point we’d considered tearing down the structure and building a two-story office building.” Sitting beside him, managing partner Doug Lammers implied they’d made the right call. Lammers, who is at the restaurant nearly every day handing out samples and smiling at new faces, said, “We’ve been busy since opening day, and we’re getting busier all the time.” A third partner, Dan Ripa, was also heavily involved in the concept and build out.
Why did they decide on gelato and Italian themes? “We’re all Italians,” said Nardslico, who is originally from Rome, New York, a region in the upstate known for its large Italian population and great Italian food. Some of the sandwiches are named for family members, such as the Alberto—a grilled chicken or steak sandwich served with mushrooms, grilled onions and American cheese on garlic ciabatta bread. The Giovanni Amato is an Italian sandwich loaded with salami, pepperoni, Provolone cheese, roasted peppers and pesto mayo on ciabatta bread.
As good as the food is, the real draw may be the gelato. The partners purchased a $20,000 imported Italian gelato machine for the process. It’s made with mostly milk instead of mostly cream and it’s churned at a much slower rate, making it denser than ice cream. The real trick is the serving temperature—around 10 degrees. “All food tastes better when it’s not ice cold. Just like whiskey and wine,” said Lammers. “The gelato is served somewhere between the consistency of soft serve and [hard scooped] frozen ice cream.”
A local coffee roaster supplies fresh beans, making Café Gelato’s coffee extra special as well.
7901 N. Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach, SC 29572
Hours: Open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily
PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF CAFÉ GELATO