Sydney-based premium gelateria Gelato Messina will launch in Adelaide in late 2022 following its debut overseas in Hong Kong.
The new operation will be based in Kent Town, where the current Alchemy IronWorks site will be converted into a restaurant and Gelato Messina store.
While the company has previously run numerous pop-up stores in Adelaide’s iconic Rundle Mall, the move will mark Messina’s first permanent base in SA. The opening will be a full-circle moment for CEO Nick Palumbo, who left the city in 2002 to open the original Messina Gelato in Darlinghurst, Sydney.
Gelato Messina head of business development, human resources & management Simon Ravindran told Business News Australia the team was “excited” about the opening, which is set to happen by November at the latest.
“We had a development application approved last month. We're just finalising the drawings for that project,” he explained.
“[There’s] a bit of demolition that’s required. We're hoping get to a point where we're ready for a fit-out out by July.
“Hopefully by September we’re in a position to get the businesses up and running – both the restaurant and Gelato Messina. [With] building there's always delays, so by November we should be open, if not a bit earlier.”
44 The Parade W, Kent Town SA 5067
The announcement comes after Gelato Messina made forays into Hong Kong, where it partnered with Black Sheep Restaurant to open its first store in October 2021.
Ravindran says the collaboration “didn’t happen by design” but was fostered after Messina created specialised products for an exhibition event called the Taste of Hong Kong.
“They basically said to us: we've licensed one or two brands in Hong Kong [from the] US and we'd love to do the same with you,” he explained.
“We got to know them; we aided their restaurants. We saw what their staff culture was like. We saw what their ethic was in terms of sorting food. It was much the same as what we do.”
“It was a meeting of the minds that was more fortuitous than planned. We saw all the right characteristics of a partner. [We knew] they would take our brand and care for it.”
Priding itself on “product quality”, Messina made the decision to purchase a hazelnut plantation in Seymour, Victoria during 2016.
While the facility came fully functioning, it required a transformation to suit the company’s requirements. Pulling out the planted trees, Messina planted four types of hazelnuts - the Tonda Di Giffoni, the Lewis, TBC 20 per cent, and the Barcelona.
Messina Hazelnut Farm - Seymour VIC
Shortly after, the gelateria would follow a similar formula purchasing a dairy farm in Numurkah, New South Wales.
Selling the pre-existing herd of Friesian cows, Messina utilised the property to house more than 450 Jersey cows – which are known to produce less volume but “creamier milk”.
“We’ve transitioned to a grass-fed pasture. Our cows are free to roam,” Ravindran explained.
“We've invested so heavily in the products. That's really what defines and drives everyone here: above anything the product is sacred.”
In 2018 Messina also took the helm of a strawberry farm in Dural, NSW. The company oversees the labour to pick fruit in exchange for the expertise of farmer Tony, who grew produce at the site for over 50 years.
Photo: Gelato Messina (Parramatta, NSW)
Looking into the future, Ravindran says Gelato Messina is in “some discussions” to potentially launch in the Middle East or Singapore.
“As the opportunities present themselves, we evaluate them. If it’s the right fit, the right time, the right place - we try and make it happen,” he said.
“We're certainly looking to expand but everything comes back to the quality of the product. It has to be what we can manage without compromising any [of it].”
“We want to share and export to other parts of the world but we never really had a defined strategy. A lot of our expansion has been organic.”
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