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Meet David Arato of Bottega Italiana in UTC and Coronado

Today we’d like to introduce you to David Arato.

David, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I used to be a professional athlete (cycling) in Italy, and was fortunate to travel the world to competitions with the national team. I raced in the US a few times and loved it here, but was missing the kind of food culture we had back home. The friends I made here during those years, came to visit me in Italy and could not stop talking about Gelato and Coffee. They had each 3 times a day, and wished they could find it back in their home. That is when I formed my plan to start a business one day in the US. My carrier got interrupted by an injury when I was 23, so I went to the best Gelato Master in town and worked for him for free for 8 months learning the trade. I moved to Seattle in 2003, and opened my first store there on June 21 2003 (still there and going strong) with my investor partner Luca. After a hard first year and lots of mistakes, we took off in the second year and found success. In 2006 I expended the business with a Coronado store, and 2012 came UTC. We are set to open another location in Carlsbad early next year, and working on a Bistro concept as well for 2018.

I attribute my success to hard work and determination, which I learned from my parents and growing up in the competitive environment of professional cycling. A passion for good clean food and attention to details is a must in this business. At the end of the day I just love impressing people with what we do and how we do it. We are here to make them feel special about their experience. I still work a lot in my stores because I love my business, it is my fifth child next to my 3 girls and a boy. We live in Encinitas with my beautiful wife with whom I met in Seattle after opening the first store there.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
When we opened in 2003, our concept was still very new. Most people did not know what is Gelato, and was afraid of it. By now it is very trendy, but back then we had to convince people to even try it.

The other major challenge was moving here alone not knowing anybody, and handling it all by myself. I had no business partners (inside US), no friends or family, no business network. It was a hard first year…

Bottega Italiana – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
We make our Gelato fresh daily at each location. We do it the old fashioned earthy way, from scratch with natural ingredients and no additives. It would be easy to cut corners, but we refuse to.

We also serve daily coffee the Italian way, focusing on the quality and overall experience.

Our pillars are quality, service and atmosphere, resulting in the customer experience people want to repeat over and over again.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Every time my kids visit me at work!

Contact Info:

  • Address: 4445 LA JOLLA VILLAGE DRIVE H17
  • Website:
  • Phone: 8584040799
  • Email:

Image Credit:

Our stores, Our products

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