By Kristine Cannon
Luna Gelateria & Caffetteria may have opened its doors last February, but owner Stefano Fabbri’s family history in the food and restaurant industry dates back 70 years.
In 1949 — and over 9,700 miles across the pond in Rimini, Italy — Fabbri’s carpenter grandfather opened the very first bakery in the village of 1,500, where Fabbri grew up and his family still lives to this day.
His grandfather hired a professional baker to teach his two sons, including Fabbri’s father, Amadeo Fabbri, how to properly bake bread.
Twenty years later, man took the first steps on the moon and Amadeo opened Luna Gelateria, naming it specifically as a nod to the momentous lunar landing.
Amedeo sold the restaurant 10 years ago, but Stefano firmly planted his Italian roots in Scottsdale — specifically in The Shops at Gainey Village where he owns both Pomo Pizzeria Napoletana and Luna Gelateria next door.
“Luna is back to my roots,” he added.
Luna Gelateria opened in February 2018, replacing Forno Fabbri, Fabbri’s former Italian market and mozzarella bar.
“We decided Forno Fabbri and Pomo Pizzeria were competing against each other because they both sell panini and pizza. So I decided to open the gelateria,” Stefano said.
Luna Gelateria has garnered positive reviews, so far boasting a 4.5-out-of-5 star rating on Yelp.
Luna offers two types of gelato, a slow-churned gelato that’s much softer in texture, and pre-made gelato harder in texture with various fruits, sweets, seeds and other ingredients folded into it. The latter, Luna’s Ciao Case flavors, includes hazelnut cremino, amarena cherry, mint cremino, blood orange sorbetto, coffee granita, passion fruit pistachio — a customer favorite — and more.
What makes Luna’s gelato unique is two-fold: the gelato features ingredients imported directly from Italy, including pistachios, hazelnuts and chocolate; and the fresh, churning gelato on display at the ordering counter is made in a machine imported from Italy called the Frigomat GX8 batch freezer.
“That’s what makes a difference for me, the fact that we use this machine that’s churning the gelato fresh every day,” Stefano said.
Hypnotizing to watch, the batch freezer folds velvety, creamy gelato fresh in-store every day.
Currently, Luna’s GX8 flavors include the classics, like chocolate, strawberry, pistachio, coffee and coconut, as well as gianduia, a chocolate and hazelnut hybrid, and fior di latte, purely milk and cream.
Luna also uses local ingredients, notably Danzeisen Dairy, a family farm that has been operating 10 miles from downtown Phoenix for over 50 years.
“We use the best milk in Arizona, period,” Stefano said.
Stefano was so passionate about gelato, he attended Carpigiani Gelato University in 2009 to learn everything about making authentic gelato.
“It’s a full course to learn the technique and the recipe — the balance between the sugar and the milk,” he said. “It was one of my passions to make gelato.”
Luna’s eponymous signature flavor is inspired by stracciatella gelato, which consists of milk-based ice cream filled with irregular, yet fine chocolate shavings.
Stefano’s twist is he adds pistachio, salt and caramel.
“You get more flavors,” he said.
Stefano would like to open another Luna Gelateria in the future, but only if it’s paired with Pomo Pizzeria.
“I don’t want to open Luna by itself,” he said. “The next Pomo I open, there will be a Luna as well. I really love this concept.”
He also plans to experiment with new flavors and add to the revolving menu of flavors Luna currently offers.
Luna also offers lunch and dinner, including homemade foccaccia bread, paninis, pizzas and soups.
In addition to owning Luna and Pomo, Stefano also owns Mora Italian with celebrity chef Scott Conant.
As for how Stefano’s family feels about Luna Gelateria, Stefano’s said his father is proud.
“My father came to visit me last March. They are really proud to have their son put the name on it and keeping the name of the family,” Stefano said.
Luna Gelateria, 8977 N. Scottsdale Road, Suite 504, 480-907-5202, lunagelateria.com