Doppio scoops out its niche

September 21, 2005

If you want to find a cup of coffee in Hood River, there are many different places to choose from. If you want some ice cream, it's a little tougher. And if you want gelato, then Doppio, located in the 310 Oak Street building, is where to look.

Gelato, which many people think is synonymous with ice cream, is actually a much different product. Having far less air whipped into the product during production than ice cream, gelato makes for a dense, rich product that may have as much as 90 percent less fat than ice cream.

"There's a definite gelato craze going on right now," said Shane Langston, co-owner of Doppio, which is Italian for "double."

The idea to serve gelato came after a trip that Langston took to Italy last year with Ryan Keser, his business partner and a teacher at Hood River Middle School.

"We didn't plan on serving gelato until we went to Italy," Langston said. "There are several places in Portland that serve it, and the timing was perfect."

The café offers 10 flavors of gelato a day, and three or four of them are usually the dairy-free equivalent called sorbetto. Flavors rotate, but sometimes include honey and fresh mint, fresh pear, tiramisu, pistachio and passion fruit.

"We make it fresh every day," said Langston. "It's been a big hit."

Another thing that Doppio is becoming known for is its espresso drinks.

Langston uses coffee from Pacific Rim Coffee Roasters, the same company that supplied Holstein's Coffee Company, another business that Langston owned.

"We're proud that there's a good portion of the old Holstein's staff here," Langston said. "It's made for an easy connection."

Langston decided to close Holstein's last December when their lease was up on the building in the 100 block of Oak. At that time, he had already been after the space in 310 Oak for months.

"We pursued the owners of 310 Oak about a year ago," Langston said. "The space is great here."

Both customers and employees agree that the location and the layout feel good.

"This place has good feng shui," said Jolene Wampler, an employee, referring to the Chinese concept of harmonious space. "There are even customers that come in and say that there is good flow and good energy."

"We have two entrances, so we can handle large crowds," said Langston, noting the change from Holstein's, which had only one door and tended to get crowded.

Langston also said that Doppio's outdoor seating and extended hours — 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily — make it an ideal place to hang out.

"We have the outdoor plaza and big windows inside. It's the perfect place for us," Langston said.

Doppio also carries many vegan and vegetarian food items, such as burritos, sandwiches and pasta salads, along with organic juices and other beverages.

"We have fresh pastries every day from the City Market, as well as fine chocolates and locally made desserts, too," Langston said. "We're also going to start serving panini."

Doppio also sells various retail items, such as mugs, travel cups, shirts, French presses and teas.

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