A year ago, Jeff Labhart dropped by our offices at the Source, and dropped off four pints of gelato. It was a great surprise on an early summer day.
Labhart, originally from Oregon's dairy territory of Tillamook, and his wife Juli, originally from a berry growing community in northwestern Washington, seemed to be an ideal combination to bring traditional dairy and fruit flavors, but Labhart also explained that they had recently traveled around the globe gathering ideas for spices and flavors.
Last June, Labhart also talked about plans to sell their gelatos at farmers' markets and grocery stores in the region, and eventually planned to open a storefront.
And, last Saturday, on a sunny afternoon, the couple did just that: Bonta Gelato opened doors on its brick-and-mortar store downtown. Much like popular ice cream stores in Portland, the lines were out the door.
Although The Dude may have disapproved of The Eagles playing on the stereo, the space was warm and inviting. Even though there was steady foot traffic, there was still plenty of table space to sit.
The pleasant server said that dulce de leche, a creamy flavor with a strong undertone of caramel, was the most popular seller so far. A chalkboard announced other offerings, each proudly announcing the origin of its flavor: a boysenberry sorbetto, Tumalo lavendar & honey, Turkish coffee, and vanilla bourbon pecan. There are also lots of alternative milk options, including sorbetto and vegan concoctions made with coconut milk, including a delicious rich chocolate coconut.
Downtown Bend Scoop Shop
920 NW Bond St. Suite 108 (door on Minnesota Ave.)
Daily 11 am – 9 pm