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Jun 17, 2008 04:19 PM

New gelato place in Clarendon -- how is it?

There's a new gelato place in Clarendon at the El Chaperal(sp) food store across the street from Whole Foods. Has anyone been? How is it?

When I've been on recent evening jogs by there it seems to be quite popular.



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  1. its pretty dang tasty. love the coffee flavor and the chocolate hazelnut.

    the owner is nice but boisterous. "have you been to italy and tried the gelato there? save your ticket! the best is here!"

    pretty good though.

    5 Replies
    1. re: kneelconqueso

      I went there last night with my kids. It was great. I was actually intending on going to El Chaperral to get some plantains and other items, but the grocery store was closed and the gelato area was open (this was at about 8:35pm).

      My kids loved the passion fruit gelato (I tried it, it was great). They have an impressive array of flavors (about 20), choco-banana, lychee-peachy, coconut, basil-lemon (I think, this is from memory), coffee, etc.

      The owner said that they make all of the gelato themselves, that he owns a location in Loehman's Plaza where they make it, and they intend on moving that gelato machine to this location in the near future. I asked if he runs the grocery store (El Chaperral) too, and he said, "not yet". Not sure what he means...

      The place is not fully built yet, there is plywood leaning against the walls and there aren't a lot of light fixtures, there was a table lamp rigged up as a spotlight and he had candles burning all around. Kind of nice ambiance, but the fire marshall probably wouldn't like it. There were lots of people there, very excited about the place and the flavors. It wasn't cheap, my kids cones were $3 each.

      The owner was a bit brusque, but nice enough. I suspect that he's the owner and will hire someone to dip gelato at some point. I bet they'll make lots of money there.

      1. re: UncleLongHair

        Mmmm, sounds like some tasty flavors--thanks for your input. Can't wait to try it!

        1. re: julialimei

          Okay, I finally made it to Boccato last night with a few friends and we LOVED it. We all got smalls (which is still two very rich scoops). I had one scoop of cake batter and one scoop of the peanut butter chocolate. Both were excellent. The cake batter flavor was a bit subtle but totally reminded me of fluffy vanilla cake. The pb-chocolate was outstanding. It was so rich and almost fudgy with a great blend of flavors. Neither the chocolate nor the peanut butter dominated.

          My boyfriend tried the mafioso (strawberry gelato, organic strawberry preserves, and merengue) and the pomegranate-mint. I thought the mafioso was a bit too sweet, but it definitely grew on me after a few bites. The pomegranate-mint was very refreshing and had an "earthy" taste to it that made me very confident that it was made with fresh mint.

          Finally, my friend got two scoops of pistachio, which was fairly subtle but in a very good way.

          We were three very happy campers. I can't wait to go back!

        2. re: UncleLongHair

          Gelato place in Loehman's Plaza? Virginia? Do you know where it is? That's a little closer to me than Clarendon, and the free parking is easier.

          1. re: MikeR


            There is another Chapparel Market across 50 from Banh Mi DC.

            Unfortunately, they don't sell the gelato.

      2. I thought the gelato was quite good. From what I understand the place is owned by 2 people who have worked in numerous restaurants in DC as servers and bartenders (maybe Oceanaire and/or Occidental?). The decor and the feel of the place need some work, but they're certainly on the right track. I also agree that the owner is nice, but boisterous.

        1. oooh thats so exciting! Since Ben and Jerry's closed I was worried that there wouldnt be any place this summer to get a cold treat. Will have to run by tonight - anyone know the name?

          2 Replies
            1. re: cheesepowder

              My wife and I went there last evening. We really, really enjoyed it. Yes, it was expensive, but the flavors are so concentrated and true that it's worth the occasional splurge. I had the mango and some exotic fruit that the owner said traditionally goes with mango.

          1. It is defintiely good. A little expensive but still less money than a place like Coldstone Creamery.

            1 Reply
            1. re: rappel75

              I asked if I could get one scoop rather than two, and was told "No, we have to pay the bills."

              Just yesterday I discovered the Rita's Water Ices in the Landmark Plaza shopping center and, since it got high marks here, I thought I'd try some as a top-off (as opposed to topping) for the slice of Valentino's pizza I had for lunch. I just naturally asked for a "small" ice, and the clerk asked if I wanted a "regular." I said OK, if you call the smallest size "regular." She allows as how they had a "kids" size, so I got that. Plenty for me, and a bit cheaper than the "regular." I was able to finish the whole thing, but I doubt I could have finished any larger portion.

              Key lime by the way, very refreshing.

              Just in case nobody else has discovered it, it's just a take-out window that looks like it was carved out of a corner of the optical shop (For Eyes?) in the shopping center, just across from the Win Buffet, and across Little River Turnpike (Rt. 236) from Hee Been. I expect it's only open "for the season" however long that lasts. Next time I'll try the frozen custard.

            2. looking forward to trying it. but the owner sounds a bit like the "gelato nazi"! ;-D