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Pussycat Gelato: An Eclectic and Adventerous Experience

I’m excited to announce….

…that today I am kicking off “Feature Friday”, where I’ll spotlight a local business or creative.

This blog stemmed from the passion I have for connecting with the local community and sharing experiences with all of you. Go figure, I launch the blog and then write about travel for a majority of it. So like me to do things backwards.

Today I’m featuring Pussycat Gelato, a vivacious gelato shop in Old Town Scottsdale serving small batch locally made artisan gelato.  PC Gelato just opened their first Phoenix location about 3 months ago.

We live in Old Town, so I’m always surprised when I notice a business and I think to myself, “Has that always been there, and I’m just not very observant?” Luckily, my level of observance was not in question here because in this case, this business is new to Scottsdale.

Cozy up in the PC Gelato Lounge.

I’d like to start off with a pop quiz, can anyone tell me why we call Italian ice cream “gelato”?

This is going to blow your mind…. the Italian word for ice cream is…. you guessed it!  G E L A T O.

Really deep stuff here, guys.  Alright, I’ll proceed.

“I’ll take one of each, please”

When Tom, Clara, and I waltzed in to Pussycat Gelato a few weeks ago, I instantly knew I was going to feature them on my blog, it was quite the experience! Plus, I’m all for the support of new business owners.

PC Gelato is housed in a quaint little space tucked away on 5th Ave in Old Town that boasts fun colors, 70’s themed western posters, classic white and black checkered flooring, chic lighting, and a cozy sitting area with Josie & The Pussy Cat Dolls (J&PCD) projecting onto a screen.

Frederic and Rhonda at their Bisbee store ribbon cutting, provided by PC Gelato.

The owners, Frederic Watson and Rhonda McFarland are lovely people. Rhonda’s smile was so warm and welcoming, and Frederic’s cool demeanor and French accent intrigued us.

Rhonda immediately opened the gelato case, with taster spoon in hand, and asked us what we would like to try.  She kept shoveling out the samples….I’m pretty sure we tried most of them between the 3 of us.  She offered us a 1 scoop split into 2 flavors which didn’t make the decision any easier, everything was SO GOOD.

They serve their gelato with a cute little biscotti on it.  Biscotti is Italian for cookie.  Boom! You just learned 2 Italian words in 30 seconds.

Scoop of gelato topped with a yummy biscotti.

Frederic and Rhonda scored bonus points with us when they offered us a “local’s discount” after learning we were their neighbor.  Love that!

Clara wound up with a half peanut butter and half banana scoop, because that’s just what made sense.  She made herself right at home on one of the colorful arm chairs, digging into her gelato, watching J&PCD on the big screen.

Not to our surprise, she didn’t want to leave, and didn’t budge when we tried our usual “alright, well we’ll just have to leave you here,” as we inch towards the door move. We inquired, they weren’t hiring… Clara would have made a great mascot.

I popped in a few days later and Frederic greeted me with an equally warm smile.  He made me an affogato, an espresso poured over gelato, and we started chatting about gelato, and the emergence of his business.

Afternoon delight- espresso poured over Butter Pecan Gelato.

Frederic grew up on a farm in France.  To him, food is love.  Actually, it’s beyond love, it’s life.  It’s the soul’s purpose.

He went to culinary school, and spent many years in the hotel and hospitality business.  He eventually outgrew the restraints of corporate hospitality, and embarked on his own consulting journey.

With his home base being Tucson, AZ , he traveled and consulted “distressed properties” for almost 2 decades. He would work with businesses who needed help, and guide them through becoming profitable again, usually in 6 months or less.

During a visit at home, he was having a chat over gelato with his lovely significant other and now business partner,Rhonda, and asked her if there was a gelato shop in her hometown, Bisbee.

There wasn’t.

PC Gelato offers fun flavors, like Torino chocolate, foxy berry almond, and espresso toffee. They offer gluten free and sorbet flavors as well.

Frederic’s business minded wheels started turning.  “Let’s do it.”

Shortly after that, they went and walked Main St. in Bisbee to see if there were any storefronts available, and lo and behold they found the perfect one. At the beginning of the stretch of shops, perfect for grabbing a scoop before you take a stroll down Bisbee’s lively main street.

While doing some research to make sure the name wasn’t trademarked, Josie & The Pussycat Dolls came up.  The dots started connecting.

French details are sprinkled throughout the shop.

And that was that.

Well, not quite.  The story behind the name is pretty comical.  I just assumed Frederic and Rhonda had a thing for Josie….wrong.  The building that the Bisbee store is located in used to be a brothel. 

So there’s that.

Frederic told me, “I couldn’t just give it a generic name, Bisbee is a funky town, with funky people, funky shops, funky music, the whole town is funky.”

The Scottsdale Location is their second location in 6 months, with a 3rd location in downtown Phoenix in the works.  Frederic shared with me his goal to open 5 locations in 1 year. He’s a business man with a plan, who loves him some gelato.

About the gelato itself- it’s what he calls “true” gelato.  It’s small batch, all natural, hand made, local artisan gelato with no preservatives or additives. Frederic was dropping knowledge on me, I’ll never look at gelato the same.

Well, I’ll still look at gelato the same….drooling, already feeling the guilt before my first bite, feeling my hips getting bigger in real time. But the sign outside of PC Gelato that tells me their gelato is healthier with fewer calories eased my guilt just a smidge.

He explained to me that gelato should reflect a lighter, more muted shade of the color of food that it is flavored with.  For instance, strawberry should be a light pink, pistachio is even kind of a weird brown color, but mixing it with a vanilla base makes it look more appealing.

We’ve all seen and probably eaten “generic” gelato.  It’s bright, and colorful, and poured into towering mounds.

This “generic” gelato is mass produced from bagged mixes and chock full of artificial additives and flavors.  It was probably made with a flavored syrup and it will probably leave a weird after taste in your mouth.  No thanks!

An ode to Spaghetti Westerns.

Thanks to Frederic & Rhonda, we don’t have to worry about that.

If you’re in the Old Town area, stop by Pussycat Gelato.  It’s located just a few doors down from The Original Chop Shop on 5th Ave.

Fun lights in the Scottsdale shop.

If you do stop by, tell ol’ Frederic and Rhonda you saw them on the itsalwayssunnyinphx Blog….they’ll love it!

Sending you sunshine,

Audria

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