Private pilot's gelato trailer takes off

2014-05-29T00:00:00Z 2014-05-29T08:22:06Z Private pilot's gelato trailer takes offBy Gerald M. Gay Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

As our desert town settles into triple digit temperatures, Tucsonan Ken Dungey has made venturing into the heat this summer a little bit sweeter.

Last month, Dungey launched Bella’s Gelato Shoppe, an all-singing, all-dancing dessert trailer that has already dug in at regular roundup events and at Himmel Park, at First Street and Tucson Boulevard, on Sundays.

Bella’s sports seven flavors of gelato. Some of its regular offerings include sea salt caramel, chocolate and mint chip.

Then there are the sorbets and specialty flavors, such as peanut butter cup and strawberry white chocolate, that rotate in and out.

Dungey said he was looking for something unique for food truck customers when he chose the specialty dessert.

“I thought it would be nicer than regular ice cream,” he said. “Gelato seemed underrepresented in the food truck realm.”

Dungey is a five-year Tucson resident.

Before moving to town to be closer to his girlfriend, Lisa Erickson, he owned a sports bar in Orange County, California.

A private pilot, Dungey worked as a sales manager for the Evergreen International Airlines at Pinal Airpark until he opted to get back into the food service industry.

Dungey enjoyed owning a sports bar, but “I didn’t want a brick-and-mortar building again,” he said. “It is a lot of responsibility. There are so many factors to think about.”

Dungey instead invested a significant amount into a custom-designed food trailer, complete with a display case, where customers can eyeball the different gelato flavors, and a cartoon likeness of Bella, Ken and Lisa’s husky-pit mix on the side.

“We don’t have kids, so she is everything to us,” Dungey said.

Like many food truck owners, Dungey’s big dream is to have a fleet of Bella’s Gelato Shoppes and to be able to franchise the business.

“It is doing better than I anticipated,” he said. “So far, it has worked out.”

Find out more about Bella’s Gelato Shoppe at bellasgelato.com online.

Contact reporter Gerald M. Gay at ggay@azstarnet.com or 807-8430.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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