Sweets and beats: Dolce & Gelato, Revolver Records join forces in old City Grocery building
There's now a place in East Hill to go grab gelato and some Grateful Dead.
Or a little espresso and Elvis Costello.
How about a beer and some Beastie Boys?
This is all possible at the former location of the locally revered City Grocery on 2050 N. 12th Ave., where two preexisting downtown Pensacola businesses — Dolce & Gelato and Revolver Records — have teamed up under the same roof.
"When you go to bigger cities, you see a record shop that's got coffee and it's like, why wouldn't it work here?"' said Dolce & Gelato owner Brenda Mader. "This is exactly the type of neighborhood for it."
Revolver Records owner Eric "Elvis" Jones rocked out on 12th Avenue at the former East Hill CD Exchange for 13 years, just about four blocks north of his new digs. He then ran Revolver Records from 2010-2018 on 9 E. Gregory St., the soon-to-be home of the Nomadic Eats cafeteria and event space.
For Jones, who stresses quality over quantity when it comes to his vinyl inventory, it's good to be back home.
"I grew up in East Hill, in fact I use to live a block from here," said Jones, as the first few diggers made their way into the record shop portion of the store Friday afternoon, minutes after the store's grand reopening. "It's a great area. ... I was very eager when (Brenda) presented the opportunity. I jumped at it, 'cause it was City Grocery for well over a decade. I'm just glad to be back to my roots."
The 3,000-square-foot shop a couple of doors down from East Hill Pizza off of Jordan Street sat vacant for well over a year until Mader re-opened Dolce & Gelato on Wednesday. She was previously on Zaragoza Street from 2015 until early March.
"When we came in this was a huge, empty filthy square," Mader recalled.
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In only two-and-a-half months, bathrooms, a kitchen, a coffee bar, a modern retro lounge and cafe, and a front bar were installed. Now Mader's handmade gelato, featuring her funky flavors like the goat-cheese cherry and her new Bushwhacker with real rum, are on full display.
A modest late morning crowd gathered in the shop's cafe for coffee and gelato Friday as Mader pointed to the chartreuse-colored chairs across from the leopard-print couch she was sitting on.
"I've got kind of a 'Beetlejuice' meets Pee Wee Herman taste in decor," Mader said, as a jukebox beside her blared The Strokes' 2001 hit single "Hard to Explain." "And people like it. The chartreuse up in the rafters and on the chairs is a nod to Eric's original CD building. It was painted chartreuse."
Mader just picked up her beer and wine license Friday and hopes to have both for sale by the weekend, if not sooner. The space dwarfs her former 700-square-foot cafe on Zaragoza, now home to the Olde English Creamery.
More space was the motive behind the move, said Mader, who will play the weekend hours of operation by ear as she figures out the best ways to take advantage of all the new space. The wheels are already turning in her head.
"We'd like to do family game nights, live music, and — we're getting a drop-down projector screen here," she said. "So when we're doing stuff like that on the weekend then we're going to stay open later.
"I want to be a place where locals come and hang out," Mader added. "This is a neighborhood place. I want people to say, 'Hey, let's head over here and have a glass of wine while the kids have some gelato.'"
Closed on Mondays, Dolce & Gelato will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday. The weekend closing times are what may fluctuate in the early going, Mader said. She's looking at 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays for now. The coffee bar will open a little later on Saturday and Sunday, at 10 a.m.
As for Revolver, the downtown hours remain intact: Jones' store is open from noon until 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. Saturday. It is closed Sunday.
Jake Newby can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 850-435-8538.