Nana’s Gelato has been serving South County since 1985. Meet the owner, Dianne Mann, to find out why she is so passionate about ice cream and gelato.
First off, who is Nana?
The original owner in 1985 was a nana. I am waiting for my kids to bring me grandchildren, but it may be a while since they just graduated college. But I can picture them all standing on milk crates scooping for me some day.
Are you a family-run operation?
Yes, we are family-run. My kids were both in high school when I purchased Nana’s. My daughter Crissi scooped every summer and my son Jeff was my inventory guy. They live elsewhere now, but when they come home I definitely put them to work. Who better to respond to our customers who want to know what’s in Cowabunga Crunch and how many grams of fat is in our gelato?
Which came first, ice cream or gelato?
Nana’s has been serving ice cream cones across from Narragansett Town Beach since it opened. We discovered the fabulous flavor of gelato, the Italian version of ice cream, during a trip to Italy and began serving 16 flavors to our customers. Gelato has a smooth, silky texture and intense flavor, with only 1-4 grams of fat.
What do your customers seem to prefer?
Gelato is outpacing ice cream now. It has incredible flavor with less calories. Our fruit flavors are fat free. And with a homemade waffle cone dipped in chocolate and covered in sprinkles, it’s just the best!
Let’s talk about flavors. What are your most popular? Do they keep changing or do people like to see old favorites?
“Nana’s Kiss” is our signature flavor - chocolate gelato with Snickers, Kit Kats and Hershey’s kisses. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough is our most popular ice cream flavor every season. Cookie Monster and Pink Bubble Gum are a favorite for kids. Our Monster Mash with malted milk balls, M&M’s and cookie pieces is an old favorite. We just made a new flavor Salted Caramel Chocolate Pretzel, which is outstanding. We always listen to our customers requests and have added more dairy-free flavors and gluten-free products.
What is it about the Nana’s experience that people take away with them?
There’s lots to like about Nana’s in Narragansett. It’s a comfortable place, where memories are made and remembered, year after year.
It’s the smell of our delicious waffle cones hitting you as you walk in the door; the comfy black leather couch where you can eat your treats; being able to walk in barefoot and sandy right off the beach and our new candy bar right next door has walls and walls of nostalgic candy.
Describe your perfect Narragansett summer day?
Eighty degrees, no humidity, not a cloud in the sky and a line of sandy fans out the door and around the corner.
What do you do in the off-season?
During the off-season I play more tennis and visit my kids in New York and Florida. We expanded Nana’s by adding two new locations this past season, so I didn’t have a lot of down time. I also spend more time in the off-season serving a few bridal shows. Last year we served 39 weddings; brides are excited to add our gelato station to their venue.