North Park's favorite gelato shop knows how to capture the unexpected flavors of San Diego County.
For a hot minute, the team behind An’s Dry Cleaning debated an Italian name for their gelato shop, but that idea evaporated when they reflected on their vision and the local history of their storefront.
They decided to retain the name of the former business—a dry cleaner and alterations shop—which had operated in the space for more than a decade prior to their arrival.
“It was kind of a risk, but it’s part of what we want to do,” said David Aguilera, co-owner and resident gelato chef and co-owner with Travis Bailey. “We’re friends, we have other jobs. If we’re going to do this, we have to have fun and enjoy it.”
The San Diego shop has been open for just over a year in the hipster heart of North Park, where it makes a quirky kind of sense that a business that aims to be unique would embody that spirit in its design.
Inside, there are fold-down tables that look like ironing boards and a menu of flavors named after fabrics, like Canvas (olive oil and rosemary), Spandex (lemon and lavender), and Cotton (rice milk and cinnamon).
The menu rotates every few weeks, and there’s always two to three vegan options. Customers are encouraged to taste as many different flavors as they like, starting with a zesty ginger gelato that acts as a palate cleanser.
David’s background is all things gelato. As a teenager in Spain, he scooped it. Later, he managed gelato shops and took a job at a consulting company where he learned how to make gelato the easy way (using mixes) and the better way (from scratch), which is how they’re made at An’s.
A lot of gelato shops have one base they use as a jumping off point for all their flavors, but at An’s every recipe is individually designed to the gram to yield the best possible texture and intensity of flavors.
A Mexican chocolate-inspired flavor called Plaid is the perfect example of this attention to detail. Crafted with dark chocolate, honey, cinnamon, and pepper, it’s smooth, rich, and highly nuanced. The chocolate and cinnamon hits your tongue first, before the warm notes of pepper sneak in on the finish.
Since opening last June, the shop has collaborated with several local businesses to create new flavors for their lineup, including Paru Tea Bar, Domaine Santé, and most recently, Specialty Produce. David says these partnerships are a great way for the team to expand their culinary horizons and tap into new streams of creativity.
Co-founder Travis Bailey describes Specialty Produce as a “natural partner” because the team is so knowledgeable about sourcing fresh, local produce.
“They’re great to work with, really efficient, and good people. That’s really what it comes down to for us,” he explained.
The Specialty Produce collaboration features eight limited-edition, small batch flavors produced in partnership with Specialty Produce employees.
Standouts include Nick’s flavor (brown butter, whey, nectarine, and squash blossom) and a spicy and refreshing vegan option with cucumber, melon, and scorpion pepper salt from Janet.
You can taste the Specialty Produce collaboration flavors through the end of the week, or while supplies last, and look for other unique seasonal flavors rotating throughout the year.
If it’s your first visit to An’s, be sure to ask for a tasting. The friendly, knowledgeable employees behind the counter will walk you through every flavor in the case.
Visit An’s Dry Cleaning
3017 Adams Avenue, North Park