By Niko Kakalis
Looking for the perfect after dinner dessert or the best way to cool down during the summer? Normal ice cream shops will not suffice compared to Coolside Gelato Bar. Located in quaint Downtown Palm Harbor, this small shop is a diamond in the rough. The homemade desserts, atmosphere, location, and price are Coolside’s formula to greatness.
Coolside is most known for its homemade gelato. One of the owners, Mario, and the manager, Niko, both make the gelato homemade right in the back of the shop with all the ingredients from an Italian distributor. With the freedom of making all the gelato homemade, Mario and Niko can make crazy flavors like wasabi almond chocolate, crème brulee raspberry, and Pad Thai. You will never see the same unique flavor twice because they are always making new flavors to swap out for the old. One of their newest concepts they have trademarked is their one and only “beerlato”. A “beerlato” is a root beer float style drink containing gelato at the bottom of the mug and craft beer poured over it. The other desserts they have are fresh filled cannoli’s, limoncello mascarpone cake, lava cake, and tiramisu. On top of having a wide range of flavors, the gelato tastes better and is healthier for you than ice cream.
When you walk into Coolside, you immediately notice the decorations. This store has a sort of rustic sense, which is noticeable with street lights used to light up the store and water meter caps built into some of the tables. The other owner, Leila, previously worked in interior decorating and it shows in the shop. Another thing you notice when you walk in is the engaging staff. They are always so accommodating and friendly and they can answer any gelato related question in an instant. The two owners, Mario and Leila, can be found working the store during the daytime and will always strike up any conversation with customers. This is a true Mom and Pop place and it shows flawlessly through a homely and inviting atmosphere.
Coolside is located in Downtown Palm Harbor just off Nebraska and on 11th street. Coolside’s next door neighbor, Fireside, is run by Mario’s brother who specializes in pizza and Italian cuisine. Although Downtown Palm Harbor is small, it is growing due to small businesses like Coolside. Another thing, prices at Coolside are not the cheapest. The reason being, the prices have to compensate for the gelato being homemade and containing pure ingredients. A small costs $4.23 and a large costs $6.15 with tax. Despite the prices for the gelato, the coffees, cannolis, and cakes are all reasonably priced. For more information, Coolside does have a website that contains everything there is to know about the place.
This original shop encompasses everything exciting there is to have about gelato and desserts. Coolside will never disappoint with gelato flavors that never bore, a welcoming atmosphere, nice location in a quiet town, and affordable prices. This place is for everyone from the occasional family who wants something sweet or the hardcore “beerlato” fan. Coolside Gelato is always full of smiles and surprises.