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Dish Flash: Eight Questions for Jessica Oloroso

Oloroso, an alumna of Scylla, owns Black Dog Gelato (859 N. Damen Ave.; no phone yet), a storefront she plans to open in mid-June to sell the gelati she’s supplied to restaurants for the past three years…

 

Oloroso, an alumna of Scylla, owns Black Dog Gelato (859 N. Damen Ave.; no phone yet), a storefront she plans to open in mid-June to sell the gelati she’s supplied to restaurants for the past three years. Her flavors include goat cheese–cashew–caramel, sesame–fig–chocolate chip, and cucumber-rosewater sorbet.

D: Have you always done desserts?
JO: Yes. It started because as a kid I was a really picky eater. I was a vegetarian for seven years. And I have a shellfish allergy.

D: And you worked at Scylla!
JO: I told her [Stephanie Izard], like, two weeks after she hired me. She asked me to run down to the cooler to grab a bunch of shrimp and I said, “I can’t.” I only had a problem once or twice when I had to leave the building because they were cooking a large quantity of shrimp.

D: How did you start Black Dog?
JO: I ended up buying the ice cream machine from Stephanie and playing around with flavors, developing my recipe. And then I started making cold calls. I think the first account that I got was either August or September [2007] and it was with Uncommon Ground on Clark Street.

D: And then you decided to open a store?
JO: One of my accounts was Piccolo, a gelato and panini shop on Damen, a little north of Chicago Avenue. The owners decided they didn’t really want to continue. They own Small Bar. I was able to work out a good deal with them for the space.

D: Will you sell only gelato?
JO: We are going to put the focus on gelato. The case can hold up to about 20 different flavors. And then I am going to have a line of gelato-filled pastries. I am going to have gelato cakes, gelato pies, gelato bars, cookie sandwiches—that kind of thing. Also, we are going to do a small line of hand-crafted sodas.

D: So you’ll be selling at the shop and also to restaurants?
JO: I’ve [also] got a pushcart that we are going to send out. We are going to—either on Facebook or Twitter—send out an announcement: The cart plans on being, say, in Wicker Park. You can Facebook or Twitter us and request that we walk past your house.

D: Anything else?
JO: Probably in October or November, we are going to do a series of gelato classes. There will be three classes in a month. They will be somewhat of a social thing, too. They will entail gelato making and creating flavors.

D: And I have one more question. The name Black Dog—what’s that about?
JO: I have a black dog.

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