Penn dessert enthusiasts have a new reason to be excited.
After delays, Capogiro Gelato Cafe opened last Thursday in the retail belt under the Radian apartments at 3925 Walnut St. The gelateria joins other businesses - including CVS, Jimmy John's and Chipotle Mexican Grill - in the building.
John Reitano, one of Capogiro's owners, wrote in an e-mail that he wanted to open a franchise of the restaurant in the Radian because the building is "beautiful" and has the potential to be a go-to spot around campus.
While Reitano had hoped to open the new location prior to Penn's graduation, he joked that the delay occurred because "we couldn't decide on the paint color."
With the opening of the Penn location and another store at 1625 East Passyunk Ave., the gelato franchise doubled its presence in Philadelphia. Two other Capogiro restaurants are located in Center City.
The current economic downturn did not impact the decision to open the two stores, because the projects were planned before the economy took a turn for the worse, Reitano wrote.
According to Reitano, "Capo Penn" is not a replica of the franchise's Center City stores.
The new store has an expanded menu, differentiating itself from its other locations Reitano wrote. The menu includes yogurt, pastries, panini, soups and salads.
In addition, Reitano noted, the new store is unique because it serves cocktails.
Examples of the additions include the Tonno Panini, consisting of Italian tuna, artichoke hearts and house-made black olive tapenade, and a spinach salad with imported blue cheese, granny smith apples and walnuts.
In the gelato itself, Capogiro blends ingredients, such as champagne mangoes, to create many seasonal flavors of its specialty.
Customers at Capo Penn said they felt the eatery had a high-end atmosphere.
Anna Gavin, an administrative coordinator at the Law School, said Capogiro is "more Center City than West Philly."
Gavin added that she would return if she could regularly afford the gelato. The small size, which includes two flavors, is priced at about $4.25
Joseph Soliman, a fourth-year dental student, went in for coffee when he passed by the cafe. He said the cafe was "very open" and "like a beach".
Many of the patrons were not strangers to Capogiro's products because they had previously been to the location at 13th and Sansom Streets.
Reitano wrote that he is satisfied with the finished store, noting that his 10-year-old likes the new espresso machine.
"What more could we ask for?" he wrote.
So far, Reitano added, business at the new location has been good.
"The students are fantastic and have been most welcoming," he wrote.
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