The inside scoop on Lucky Dog Gelato

Justin Ganz | Lariat

Lucky Dog Gelato is located in San Clemente, California. Brady and her husband Dustin run the shop together and often work at the same time on weekends. Some might think it is not great to work with your partner, but they enjoy the company.

“It’s good. We get along, and we have fun making gelato,” Brady says. “It’s nice to have someone who shares the same interests.”

Brady is originally from Queens, New York and moved to California after meeting her husband cycling and working for the same organization. 

Before opening up her gelato shop, Brady worked in marketing for different corporations across the country. Brady then moved to California with her husband and has lived here for the past 10 years. 

Brady not only offers gelato but also cookies and treats for dogs, named dogelato, hence the name Lucky Dog. She is an avid supporter of local animal shelters.

For every purchase of the dogelato, Brady makes a donation to the San Clemente Animal Shelter.

“When people walk their dogs by the gelato shop and the dogs drag their owners to our store, the dogs know more about Lucky Dog than us humans do.”

She preps for the after dinner rush crowd which is the busiest time of the day for the gelateria. 

“At night the crowds get busier because most people would want a light dessert after dinner,” Brady says. 

Lucky Dog Gelato has brought authentic Italian artisan gelato to this coastal California town. 

Brady’s favorite gelato she created for the gelateria is her Kona Coffee Cheesecake. 

“It’s based off of a dessert I had in Hawaii, it’s basically a coffee cheesecake with crushed Oreos and toasted macadamia nuts,” Brady says. “It is really the best of both worlds.” 

It took Brady five years to find a good location for the store and get permits from the city. Brady not only offers gelato, but also cookies. She bakes the cookies fresh daily and has three flavors. The cookies sell out fast during the after dinner rush.

“I use all natural food powder but I use an ingredient called butterfly pea flower, which gives it the blue coloring in the gelato,” Brady says, regarding how to make Cookie Monster gelato. She makes the chocolate chip cookies fresh to add to the gelato. 

To people who are gelato newcomers, Brady recommends the pistachio or chocolate hazelnut. She grinds the nuts in chocolate hazelnut and puts them in the cocoa which “tastes better than Nutella. I think those are good starter gelatos,” she says.

She offers 13 flavors that are unique in name. One of the flavors is called “Don’t Call It Oreo.” It is a vanilla bean based gelato with Oreo cookies. She went with this whimsical name instead of simply calling it Oreo “to avoid a cease and desist letter,” Brady said.

Brady makes Italian artisan style gelato, which is different from ice cream because of the fat content.

“Ice cream has more butter fat and gelato melts faster,” Brady says. Additionally the higher butter fat in ice cream takes away from the flavor of the dessert which is why you taste more flavors with gelato. 

Brady received her training on how to make gelato from three different gelato universities. She had been making gelato for over 10 years. Brady trained under a famous chef, Tulio Bondi.

“It was an amazing experience as he was surprised to see that I wanted to open a business like his and make authentic artisan gelato,” Brady says.

Brady enjoys making gelato for everyone who walks through the doors of the gelateria.