Uptown will provide the homebase for Geno’s Gelato, a new bicycle-based food cart hawking gelato, Italian ice and cannoli.
Founder Brian Gioielli keeps a day job at a nonprofit, and he’s talked with his family about starting a food bike business for years.
“We have a rich Italian tradition in our family,” he said, pointing to family roots outside Naples.
But the recipes come courtesy of baker Bethany Nelson, who also grew up in an Italian-American family and bakes at Groundswell.
Made in small batches with local and organic ingredients, Geno’s frontrunner flavors thus far include the strawberry champagne gelato and the lemon Italian ice. Cannoli “their grandparents would be proud of” come in original or orange-chocolate varieties.
“It’s hard to find a good cannoli,” Gioielli said. “Let’s just say that Bethany is an amazing chef.”
Food bikes were a new concept for the city of Minneapolis. The City Council passed a new law this spring to allow prepackaged perishable food sales from non-motorized carts.
“In different communities around the country, this is a popular type of food vending,” Gioielli said. “For me, it has a little bit of a vintage feel to it. It’s the opportunity to ride around, find people where they are at and be mobile. That’s harder to do if you push a cart or drive a truck.”