New Gelateria Is Part Greek Islands, Part Coney Island

Photos: Melvin Felix

“I can’t imagine anyone my age wanting to sit in a Pinkberry,” said Ilias Iliopoulos, 34, whose gelateria Fresco opened on Second Avenue yesterday, around the corner from the fro-yo chain’s St. Marks location.

Mr. Iliopoulos, who owned a chain-operated gelateria in Greece for five years, said his first independent venture is meant to be reminiscent of a Greek shack, or “paragka.”

“There’s nothing wrong with Pinkberry and 16 Handles,” he added, “but they cater to a younger demographic because they’re very colorful and very bright. I wanted to create an environment where you can actually get a gelato but you wouldn’t mind hanging out there as well.”

fresco 6Melvin FelixIlias Iliopoulos

Mr. Iliopoulos felt the gelateria’s unadorned white-washed walls evoked the Greek islands, and there are touches of Coney Island, as well: the benches, purchased from a mill upstate, were made with boardwalk wood.

As for the gelato, there are familiar flavors like vanilla and chocolate, but also more unusual offerings such as rose water, goat cheese and mastic, which is made from a gum that grows on a tree in a Greek island.

“We’re trying to get a balance of stuff that you don’t usually see,” said Mr. Iliopoulos, “but we don’t want to take it too far. I’ve seen places that do olive oil [gelato]. I think you have to draw the line somewhere – like, it has to be a dessert.”

Mr. Iliopoulos said the gelateria he operated in Greece was sometimes open until 3 a.m., for people coming home from bars. He said he was still figuring out if that would be the case here. Last night, he ended up staying open till 12:30 a.m.

Espresso – $2
Cappuccino – $3.500
Latte – $3.50
Macchiato – $2.50
Drip coffee – $2
Iced tea – $2
Lemonade – $3.50
Cookies and croissants – $2
Souffle – $5
(plus one scoop – $6)

Small (1 scoop) – $3.50
Medium (2 scoops) – $5.50
Large (3 scoops) – $7

Fresco, 138 Second Avenue (between St. Marks and East Ninth Street), (212) 677-6320