When Bonaventura Gelato Lounge opened in Marina del Rey last year, it was welcomed into the community with open arms. And why not? This treats at this gelateria are about as tasty as they come and its clear owners Alessandro and Stephanie Bonaventura have combined their Italian heritage and passion for entrepreneurship in a fun and fantastic way. Now, Bonaventura is your Totally Awesome pick for best ice cream spot in SoCal. Stephanie recently took the time to chat with us about what makes Bonaventura awesome, the business’ cultural ties, and more. Read on:
Red Tricycle: Congratulations on being voted “Most Awesome” by your community! What do you think your customers value most about your business?
Stephanie Bonaventura: Bonaventura Gelato Lounge guests love the great mix between an awesome quality product, atmosphere and service! With gelato, people can indulge in a full flavor dessert that has much less calories than ice cream but so much more flavor than frozen yogurt. We handcraft our gelato fresh everyday by using the finest ingredients imported from Italy. We also try to please as many customers as possible, since every person is different. Our variety of flavors includes about 80 recipes (which rotate every day), from dairy free, low calorie Sorbettos (made with natural fruits) to Italian classics (like Stracciatella) to special creations like OliveOil Black pepper or Lavender/Honey Gelato.
On top of all that, we are the only Gelato place in the L.A. area offering the fun Spaghetti Gelato sundae! The spaghetti is made out of Vanilla Gelato, topped with homemade strawberry sauce and white chocolate “parmesan cheese.” Kids also go crazy for our gelato caterpillar, which looks like a caterpillar made with little gelato scoops.
RT: What inspired you to start your business?
SB: We spent several summers on vacation in L.A. – loved the country but missed the good Italian Gelato! Since Alessandro’s family owns a Gelateria in Italy, we begged for the family recipes, got them, packed our suitcases—and here we are.
We are a family owned business and moved from Italy/Germany to California only to open our own Gelateria! Our dream is to offer not only delicious gelato but also create a place for the whole family and friends to gather, have a good time, and enjoy dishes you will never find somewhere else.
RT: Any advice for new business owners just getting started?
SB: You have an idea? You think you can be successful? Trust your god. Do it. Try it. And do not let people tell you what’s right or wrong. Find your own way. You already win because you try! Once you get started, spend as much time in your business as possible and you will learn day by day by listening to your customers.
RT: Can you give us one tip for balancing entrepreneurship with parenthood?
SB: We have a 5 year old son and we are lucky to have a kid-friendly business that allows us to have him here with us as much as we want and need. However, we believe that it is not the amount of time you spend with your kids but what you make out of it. Even if it is an hour a day or one morning per week, if you give them your full attention during that time –make family games, dance together or read a book–that’s precious!
RT: What is your proudest moment as a business owner or parent?
SB: The proudest moment besides of the opening day is for sure winning this Red Tricycle award! It is our first award and it feels so great to get this recognition for our hard work!