Stoplight Gelato Cafe (Photo by Maggie Pope)
Though it’s often associated with North Side, Brook Road’s genesis is actually in Jackson Ward, where its unsteady sidewalks lead you to Stoplight Gelato Café. This space features a Tim Burton-esque mix of the colorful, kinetic and Victorian, but you’ll also find a heroine serving patrons announced by the sound of jingling bells.
Owner Barbara Given scoops gelato in posh flavors: Irish cream, matcha, chrysanthemum and crème fraîche. As if in an old-fashioned ice cream parlor, sundaes, floats and soft-serve are made with panache, with Given engaging you from behind glasses and snow-white hair. She darts with great speed while serving gelato, preparing food, kindly conversing. But she did not open Stoplight simply to feed you; the space now serves as a memorial to the retired educator’s late son, Bryce, who had once hoped to open the space as a garage for repairing classic cars.
Frozen desserts in glass parfait cups with real spoons, and sandwiches, served on buttered loaf breads and perfectly griddled, are something to be appreciated. Light sandwich fare such as The Laurel — a vegetarian offering with mushrooms, egg whites and spinach — and the Mozzarella Pesto with Chicken are great options. Pizza, soup or salads are also available, each prepared lovingly as if you were in Given’s own kitchen.
While its hominess is charming, the presence of a dog in the shop is still a surprise. The dog, the loud production of the gelato at the front of the shop, plus a few slight service issues at the register and pizza station, are the only missteps in this sweet tribute.
2.5 out of 4 forks
405 Brook Road, 644-9400
Hours: Wednesday through Monday: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Prices: $1.75 to $9