Paciugo features more than 400 gelato flavors that owner David Keck rotates through the adorable “under-the-escalator” SouthPark Mall location.
I scream, you scream, we all scream for…gelato? This delicious, centuries-old Italian frozen confection is now available at Paciugo (pronounced pa-CHOO-go), at SouthPark Mall, in Strongsville.
With its name literally meaning “messy concoction” in Italian, the new sweet spot that hit the mall’s main floor center circle last fall is actually a plunge into a second career for owner/operator David Keck.
“After selling my trucking business, I suddenly found myself with nothing to do,” explains David. “I felt I was too young to retire and started researching business options. My wife, Tami, and I happened upon a Paciugo elsewhere and it was love at first bite.”
Founded by the Ginatta family who immigrated to Texas with their secret
gelato recipes, the franchise was a perfect fit for David, who confesses to having a weakness for sweets with big, bold tastes.
“After going through a rigorous training program where I learned everything there is to know about gelato, and after tasting countless flavors, I knew I’d made the right choice,” he explains.
With several ice cream shops at the mall, David admits his biggest challenge is helping customers understand the world of difference between gelato and traditional ice cream.
“Although gelato is rich, creamy and extremely flavorful, most people don’t realize it has 70% less fat and nearly half the calories of its American counterpart,” he says. “You can indulge and still be kind to your waistline. Once you try it you’ll be hooked.”
And with a selection of over 400 flavors, there’s little chance of taste bud boredom.
“We offer an ever-changing daily selection of 27 tasty treats made fresh on site, with sizes to fit every appetite,” says David. “You can order from two to five scoops in either a cup or a cone and mix or match the flavors. We also have take-home packs for those who just can’t get enough of a good thing.”
Besides standard gelato, there’s a sugar-free alternative and icy cool sorbetti, which is similar to sorbet and made from fresh fruit. Oh, and the flavors. You’ll find everything from standards like Pistachio and Chocolate to exotics like Violet, Raspberry Rose Chip and Maple Bacon.
“It may sound weird, but it’s got this great sweet-salty thing going on that’s to die for,” says Tami.
There is also an array of seasonal specialties, like pumpkin pie, gingerbread and peppermint around the holidays, as well as watermelon and blood orange Sorbetti during the summer.
For those who crave a caffeine kick, try Paciugo’s own coffee blends and espressos. You’ll discover Cappuccino con Gelato—a mind-blowing two scoops of gelato steamed in milk along with with two shots of espresso—or the kicky Affagato—two to three scoops of gelato drizzled with espresso then topped with house-made whipped cream. The Cioccolata, which David says is akin to “sipping hot chocolate,” is perfect for frosty winter days.
To cool off, try a Frizzante, which is similar to a fruit smoothie but is instead made with your choice of Sorbetti enhanced with San Pellagrino sparkling water for a summertime refresher. You may also want to dip into the Café Freddo, a cool blend of Pannacotto gelato melted into coffee then poured over ice.
Paciugo, which is tucked away under the central first floor escalator at SouthPark Mall, 500 SouthPark Center, is open seven days a week during mall hours, Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The phone number is 440-238-5106. Visit the website at www.Paciugo.com.