Sometimes a pop-up is just a one-off opportunity for a fun collaboration between like-minded chefs who don’t typically get to work together, but other times it serves as a preview for a new concept.
Dolce Neve's pop-up at Houston's Fluff Bake Bar on Sunday was the latter. The Austin-based gelato shop has signed a lease to open a Houston location in the same Heights shopping center that’s home to Thai restaurant Foreign Correspondents, cocktail bar Canard, and coffee and doughnut shop Morningstar, co-owner Marco Silvestrini tells CultureMap.
Set to open in early 2017, Dolce Neve’s Houston outpost will replicate the design and feel of an Italian home. More importantly, the location will feature Dolce Neve’s rotating selection of seasonal gelatos made with traditional Italian techniques that utilize local ingredients whenever possible.
On Sunday, they included traditional flavors like pistachio and hazelnut, as well as a more savory variation made with goat cheese and wild blueberry. That variety led CultureMap Austin to name Dolce Neve one of the city’s best ice cream shops in 2015.
“Our good friend David Buehrer, owner of Morningstar, Blacksmith, and Greenway, is one of our regular customers and was always asking when we would open a shop in Houston,” Silvestrini says. “The opportunity presented itself in the same shopping center as Morningstar so we couldn’t pass this opportunity to have David as a neighbor and be part of the Houston community.”
Buehrer confirms that he’s a passionate Dolce Neve fan. In particular, he tells CultureMap he appreciates the shop’s commitment to sourcing high-quality ingredients and using careful preparations that match the obsession he brings to the coffee he serves.
“I travel for coffee competitions. I’ve been to a lot of other cities. I eat ice cream or gelato everywhere I go,” Buehrer says. “To find something like Dolce Neve so close [to Houston], I thought, this is the best gelato I’ve ever had ... We literally would find reasons to go to Austin just to get gelato.”