Tony Franco and his girlfriend Gloria Hernandez are bringing a little bit of Europe to Main Street in East Haven with the opening of Polo Paolo Il Gelato Italiano. While starting out with frozen treats, the couple is planning on adding coffee, espresso, smoothies, shakes and even a grilled cheese station.
But for now, Franco and Hernandez are focusing on gelato – and not just any gelato, but all of the products – aside from the milk and fresh fruit for sorbets – are imported from Italy. Even the display cases and menu boards were shipped from overseas.
“It’s handcrafted gelato and yogurt on a popsicle stick – there’s nobody in the market doing this,” said Franco. “Everything is made fresh in small batches in the back.”
The store boasts a display case with 350 bars in 30 to 40 different flavors. The bars can be customized with six different dips including milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, pistachio cream, lemon, strawberry and caramel. After the dip, you choose your toppings: dark chocolate, almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, cookies and coconut.
The couple traveled to Spain this past February, with Franco noting the gelato bars are “very big in Europe.” They chose their location – 426 Main Street right next door to another East Haven sweet spot in Sugar Bakery – in February.
“Gloria also owns Alex Grocery, which is three doors down, so it’s a very convenient location,” said Franco. “It’s been a long process, but everyone in the town has worked with us to get it done. East Haven needs more businesses so we’re happy to be here.
Polo Paolo will hold an official grand opening on Sunday, Dec. 16. Anyone who makes a purchase between now and the grand opening will be entered into a raffle for a 51-inch TV and two kids’ bikes. The raffle will be held at noon and Santa will also be on hand for the fun.