Local Italian restaurant expands its palate

Nov. 2—One of Norman's locally owned restaurants is venturing into Italian ice cream.

Gaberino's Homestyle Italian Restaurant recently bought il Dolce Gelato, an artisanal gelato and sorbet eatery in Robinson Crossing.

Gaberino's owner Laura Duprez said the idea to purchase il Dolce came out of nowhere.

"We've bought from them wholesale and served iL Dolce's gelato in our restaurant for 12 years," Duprez said. "And they texted us at the beginning of June to let us know they will be closing and I was devastated."

Looking for a way to keep the gelato in their restaurant, the Duprezes came up with a plan.

"I thought 'what if we try to take it over?'" Duprez said. "We thought this could be good for us and good for our business, and we got excited about it. I think if you get excited about something you should just go for it."

After meeting with the owners of il Dolce, the Duprezes offered to buy it, and took over the business on July 1.

"It's been a little bit of a challenge. Definitely a learning curve, Duprez said. "The employees stuck around and kept on making gelato. We feel very supported by the community so far."

However, that support has come with challenges as well.

"For me it was getting things set up, learning the ordering and developing relationships with vendors," Duprez said. "But coming up with new flavors has been fun. We make everything in house, so it has been a fun process to learn."

Duprez hopes the learning process will help them master the product and keep il Dolce a successful business.

"We are grateful for the employees that are doing the work day in and day out," Duprez said. "We just want to be that fun place that families can come to and have a good time."

Through serving the Norman area over the last decade, Laura said she feels strongly connected to the community.

"It's a really great business and we are just trying to keep the standards up and keep it a really good business," Duprez said. "We just want to provide stability and hope that it continues to grow and do well, so we can continue to be there for our community."

il Dolce Gelato is located at 1318 N Interstate Drive and will host a ribbon cutting at 2:30 p.m. Monday. Gaberino's Homestyle Italian Restaurant will still serve the gelato in their restaurant, as well.