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Divino Gelato Cafe

Lori Lester and her husband, Joe, stand on the balcony of their new business the Divino Gelato Cafe, which they plan to open by Oct. 5. Their business is located at 245 Main St., which most recently housed Dunn Bros. Coffee. / Scott Anderson 

RACINE — The former Dunn Bros. Coffee shop, 245 Main St., will soon open as the new Divino Gelato Cafe, featuring gelatos made daily on site.

Divino will also offer coffee drinks, some food, and beer and wine — if not other alcoholic drinks. It will be open morning through evening.

Proprietor Lori Lester, who hopes to open by First Friday on Oct. 5, also owns three other existing businesses:

• The first Divino Gelato Cafe, which opened about nine years ago in Waukesha.

• Sloppy Joe’s Soda Fountain, also in Waukesha.

• The Rush Coffee and Tea Shop, which she opened last November in Fort Myers, Fla.

“We make all the gelato and ice cream,” said Lester’s husband, Joe: 190 flavors of gelato and 16 ice cream flavors.

“It’s authentic, artisan gelato,” he added. Divino means “divine” in Italian, he said.

At first the gelato will be brought in from their Waukesha store, but before long they will begin making it here throughout the day, every day, Joe Lester said.

And Lori Lester said the Italian theme will run throughout their offerings. “We’re gearing everything toward an Italian cafe.”

“I think there are several reasons to get excited about this new business,” said Downtown Racine Corp. Executive Director Devin Sutherland.

“First, it would be consistent and right in line with the retail mix we’re targeting for Downtown.

“Second, here is a very experienced, qualified, capable prospect — it’s not a start-up business,” Sutherland continued.

“And third, I think it’s going to go a long way toward energizing that corner and probably the whole 200 block of Main Street.”

Sutherland also called the cafe a “highest and best use” for that 2,800-square-foot space, which includes a mezzanine. “You couldn’t have a full kitchen,” he said, in the historic building owned by Johnson Redevelopment Corp.

Gelato is a sweet, cold, milk fat-based treat invented in Italy in the 1400s, Joe Lester said. Unlike ice cream, it contains little or no air.

Divino will also sell sorbets (the cafe will call them by their Italian name, sorbettos), a nondairy cousin to gelato. The cafe will sell 24 flavors of gelatos and sorbettos at first and perhaps more later, he said.

“We want to be a place to go after dinner,” Joe Lester said. They’ll sell food, but he said, “We’re not a dinner spot.”

Divino Gelato Cafe will also have live music — both open mic nights and professional musicians — on weekends, he said.

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Job fair planned

Divino Gelato Cafe, 245 Main St., will hold a job fair from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Applicants must be at least 18.

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Michael "Mick" Burke covers business and the Village of Sturtevant. He is the proud father of two daughters and owner of a fantastic, although rug-chewing, German shepherd dog.

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