Chicago Restaurant Sweet of the Week: Gelato at Pizzeria Via Stato

You may not think it's time to start screaming for ice cream just yet, but you'll be screaming your head off with one spoonful of Pizzeria Via Stato's incomparable gelato. I'm usually a seasonal ice cream (and gelato, frozen yogurt, etc.) eater, meaning my icy cravings usually go into hibernation during the colder months. Especially this year. The last thing I want to put in my mouth on a 40-below day is something cold, in fear that it might perpetuate hypothermia. But I'd gladly forget about all that for iced desserts as exemplary as Pizzeria Via Stato's gelato, a fine rendition of Italy's quintessential cool confection. The pizza may get top billing at this River North staple, but the gelato is just as deserving of that spotlight. 

Gelato at Pizzeria Via Stato
(Gelato at Pizzeria Via Stato)

Gelato at Pizzeria Via Stato is obviously all made in-house, with flavors rotating on a routine basis. Turns out the wunderkind responsible for the restaurant's crafty pizzas is just as adept at spinning gelati into dainty bowls of creamy, luscious, flavorful finales. Kudos to chef David Digregorio for that masterwork. On a recent visit to Pizzeria Via Stato, we capped off an already stellar meal with a trifecta of killer flavors. While I tend to roll my eyes at the tired notion of salted caramel, here it works wonderfully in a gelato format, with potent salty undertones marrying seamlessly with the sugary, milky custard. My favorite of the threesome, though, was the simplest. Digregorio is a veritable magician when it comes to chocolate gelato, crafting a product that is at once fudgy and intensely cocoa-y whilst maintaining that light, airy body. It's like a candy bar-flavored cloud drifting through a cold climate. It's all flecked with some crunchy cocoa nibs and a slight patina of whispy salt. Save your energy chasing ice cream trucks this summer and just come straight here. 

- Matt Kirouac