Local family gelato business opens D.C. factory

Dolcezza opened a 300-square-foot space in Georgetown in 2004. Now, it has four locations, and one in the works, plus a new gelato factory and coffee lab in Northeast D.C. (Courtesy Joshua Cogan)

WASHINGTON — Robb Duncan compares the taste of gelato that’s scooped fresh from the machine to an unmatched flavor experience.

“You can’t one-up that, you can’t get any better, you can’t trump that,” Duncan says. “It’s the top.”

Duncan would know. As the co-owner of Dolcezza, he’s undoubtedly tasted more gelato in the past 10 years than the biggest of gelato fans. And now, he’s offering this experience to others with Dolcezza’s new 4,000-square-foot gelato factory and coffee lab in Northeast D.C.

Beginning Friday, March 21, the public can belly up to the factory’s 20-seat bar, enjoy a cup of coffee and taste the freshly-spun texture of gelato — in flavors such as Thai Coconut Milk with chocolate chili crumble and Singing Dog Vanilla with rosemary brown sugar walnuts — before it’s tempered and shipped to local stores, restaurants and Dolcezza’s retail locations.


Dolcezza churns out 300 seasonal flavors each year with 75 percent of its ingredients from local farmers and producers. (Courtesy Joshua Cogan)

Rewind 10 years ago, and Dolcezza’s space was nothing close to 4,000 square feet with room for a tasting bar and coffee lab. In fact, it was 300 square feet. And Duncan’s experience with gelato wasn’t as advanced as it is today.

He describes his pre-Dolcezza gelato experience as this: His mother-in-law and father-in-law took a one-week gelato-making class in Argentina.

“That was the extent of experience with making gelato when we opened in 2004,” says Duncan, who owns Dolcezza with his wife Violeta Edelman.

“We really felt that we had a good idea, and that there was a need for good, homemade, using fresh ingredients, gelato

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