I find nothing wrong with ice cream sandwiches when they’re made with cookies. They combine the best of both those desserts. A little crunchy, a whole lot creamy, and built to be portable and consumed fast.
Now instead of ice cream, substitute gelato.
I just got your attention, didn’t I?
When Alegre Bakery and Gelato opens in the Proctor neighborhood — most likely in March — it will pair its two specialties, gelato and cookies. The dessert sandwiches will come in combinations such as shortbread cookie with raspberry gelato or a sugar cookie with mocha crunch gelato — or any of the 18 or so flavors that will be featured daily.
The dessert business and bakery comes from Taraya and Ali Ataman.
This is the second gelateria for the couple. They opened Canarino Gelato in 2012 in Edmonds, the city north of Seattle that has some commonalities with the Proctor neighborhood, including its proximity to the water and “it’s a cozy, small community,” said Taraya. She and her husband have been looking for a few years to open their second shop in Tacoma. They’ll take over space formerly occupied by a tutoring business.
The Edmonds gelateria has room just for on-site gelato making. In Tacoma, not only will there be room for making the gelato, but also for baking. Ashley Baird, formerly of Marrow, will be the pastry chef and will create cookies, fresh-baked pretzels, lava cakes, brownies, scones and fresh baguettes served with meat-and-cheese platters.
“We’ll have more of a limited menu in the beginning,” said Taraya Ataman. “We’ll have a vegetable and hummus platter, cheese plates, edamame, fresh baked pretzels with mustard and beer cheese sauce. There will be savory plates that will be easy to share and snack on.” Eventually, they’ll increase those offerings.
Local beer and wine will be served, along with a full espresso menu, with beans from Caffe Vita.
There will be about 18 flavors daily at the gelateria, with many changing daily. They’re recipes designed by Ali Ataman, who learned to make gelato from his aunt and uncle. They own Fainting Goat Gelato, a Seattle gelateria with two locations.
Flavors diners can expect to see in the Tacoma cafe include salted caramel, chocolate, vanilla, tiramisu, pistachio, almond and biscotti. They make a line of gluten and dairy-free desserts from fresh fruit. They’re similar to a sorbet, said Taraya.
The cafe just off Proctor and North 27th streets will have seating for 25, a dine-in bar and an order-at-the-counter setup. Ataman described the atmosphere as both family and date-night friendly.
“The whole theme will be rustic industrial with a cozy, inviting atmosphere. We want you to come in, sit down, stay as long as you like,” said Ataman.
Construction is underway and the Atamans hope for a March opening, if all goes as planned.
Alegre Bakery and Gelato
Where: 3820 N. 27th St., Tacoma; facebook.com/alegrebng.