Iorio's Gelato Blog

A Gelatista Abroad: Part II

Hi, Mysha! It’s good to have one our favorite gelatistas back in the States! How long were you in Italy all together? And where exactly did you stay?

I was in Italy for 4 months, felt more like 4 seconds! I lived in Ferrara. It’s a small town in the Emilia Romagna region. I lived in a beautiful with a lovely host family!

What surprised you the most about Italy?

Every day there was a new surprise. One thing that I never grew accustomed to was how ‘sensitive’ the Italians are to the weather! There were multiple times when my host family was SHOCKED that I was going out in ‘that weather!’, which was about 40 degrees Fahrenheit....a balmy day for a Michigander.

Tell us about the food. Favorite meal?

PASTICCIO. For my little host sister’s birthday, my host mom made this divine dish called pasticcio. It is somewhat of a macaroni casserole, but so much more...sweet and but still delicate...The food that was the best was the PRODUCE. My host family only purchased what was in season in Italy, so everything was so fresh and full of flavor. I have never enjoyed plain tomatoes or experienced oranges with that much flavor!

And of course you have to tell us about the gelato. How does it compare?

To be honest, I personally think Nick’s homemade gelato is the best. Although I did have some unforgettable gelato while in Italy. The flavor nocciola (hazelnut), pistachio, and cioccolato fondente (dark chocolate) were my favorite flavors! 

Okay, take us’re walking down a beautiful street in Italy. What do you see and hear?

I would see about 3 dogs and hear another 3 in a dog fight. I swear every Italian in Ferrara had at least 2 (poorly trained dogs). Leather, leather, and more leather. Regardless of the time of day or temperature, men and women in leather pants and jackets was the norm. Other things I would see: Fancy little old ladies riding their bikes in fur coats and high heels, so many suave Italian men with the best facial hair and shoes, a bunch of people saying ‘mamma mia!’ (but actually).

Any weird, crazy Italy stories for us?

From my experience, Italians are superstitious. For example, my host mom told me that my host brother was sick because he went outside without socks on. Here is a list of examples of Italians being weirdos: If you have a fever you can’t take a shower because the hot water is bad for the feverish forehead. If you have a sore throat you MUST wear a scarf. You will get sick if you go out in the early morning fog. You have to dry your hair right away after a shower or your wet hair will make you sick!

Thanks, Mysha! Come back and visit anytime!

Let's Talk about Tea

Our coffee and gelato get all the fame and glory, but I’d argue that our tea is the hidden gem of Iorio’s. First of all, we’re committed to having a type of tea for everyone, whether it’s green or black tea for our more caffeinated friends, white tea, or herbal tea. Moreover, just like our gelato flavors, we’re always changing up our tea options to keep things interesting.

Here are 5 little known facts about tea:

  1. Origins: The English are known for their love of tea, but tea can actually trace its beginning back to ancient China. Legend has it that Emperor Shen Nong discovered tea in 2737 BCE when a light breeze caused a leave to blow into his boiling water. The rest is history.

  2. Keep it in the Family: Most tea comes from the same plant called camellia sinensisThe exception to this is herbal tea, which isn’t technically tea at all!

  3. An accidental tea bag?: Some say an American named Thomas Sullivan accidentally invented the tea bag in 1904, when he sent his customers tea in silk sachets. They didn’t know what to do with them, so they dunked the entire sachet in hot water and found it worked rather well. However, two women, Roberta C. Lawson and Mary Molaren from Wisconsin, actually invented an earlier version of the tea bag back in 1901, though few recognize their efforts.

  4. Expensive Fertilizer: The most expensive tea in the world is grown in China, where panda feces is used to fertilize the tea bushes. A cup of this tea costs roughly $200!

  5. Mosquito repellent: Wet some tea leaves and apparently the aroma will keep mosquitos away! I’m a little skeptical, so I’ll be sure to try this tactic this summer.

"How do you say that?"

At Iorio’s, we love to celebrate our Italian heritage! We are so proud to share our little piece of Italy with our customers. However, we find that some of our customers struggle to pronounce the names of more traditional flavors. Each flavor at Iorio’s has its own story to tell and its own unique ingredients and textures. So, we’ve made a guide to understanding some of these extraordinary, yet hard-to-pronounce flavors - so you can enjoy them, too!

Stracciatella  “strah-chah-tell-uh”

Similar to chocolate chip ice cream, this favorite gelato flavor is a staple at Iorio’s. It’s actually based on an Italian soup of the same name, though the classic gelato version consists of a panna creme base with dark chocolate shavings. However, you might also see other flavors like Coffee Stracciatella or Blueberry Stracciatella, which indicate a coffee or blueberry base with chocolate shavings respectively.

Bacio “bah-cho”

Bacio means “kiss” in Italian, and is made of dark chocolate gelato with hazelnut pieces. Based on the popular chocolate candy, it's a classic Italian flavor.

Zuppa Inglese “zoo-pah een-glay-zay

This popular flavor literally translates to “English soup,” perhaps derived from the English trifle dessert. It’s a custardy sweet flavor that mixes well with almost anything!

Gianduia “jahn-doo-yah”

We often compare this flavor to Nutella since it’s a smooth milk chocolate hazelnut flavor. It’s a favorite with kids and adults alike!

Spumoni “spuh-mohn-ee”

Based on a traditional layered gelato dessert, this flavor has all the favorites in one! It includes zuppa inglese and gianduia with pistachio gelato, whole maraschino cherries, and almond halves. Come celebrate National Spumoni Day on August 21st!

Limoncello “lee-mohn-chell-oh”

This tart gelato was inspired by the Italian lemon liqueur of the same name, mainly produced in Southern Italy. Although its specific origin is debated, it's said that limoncello is at least 100 years old.

Profiterole “proh-fit-er-ohl”

We borrowed from the French with this one, a panna gelato with cream puffs based on the traditional French dessert. Gelato and cream puffs are a match made in heaven.

Iorio's Secret Menu

1. Catie's Iced Coffee: cold brew + whole milk + vanilla

It's lightly sweet, creamy, and most importantly, very caffeinated. Just order a cold brew with a dash of milk and a shot of vanilla syrup!

2. Nutty Hot Chocolate: Italian hot chocolate + spoonful of Nutella

Everyone knows that we love Nutella at Iorio's-- it's no secret. So why not add it to our Italian hot chocolate? Go ahead..nothing's stopping you.

3. Dirty Hot Chocolate: Italian hot chocolate + shot of espresso

Honestly, our hot chocolate is the best around. Add a shot of espresso if you need a caffeine fix, but want something sweeter than a caffe mocha. 

4. London Fog: earl grey tea + steamed milk + vanilla

Our Earl Grey Tea gelato is known far and wide and indeed has a cult following, so we wanted to have a specialty hot drink too!

5. Gelato Shakes: gelato of choice + milk

We don’t have shakes on our menu, but we do have a blender. If you ask your gelatista nicely, I’m sure they won’t hesitate to whip you up a gelato shake. It’s like a milkshake...but better.




The Diary of an Imaginative Gelatista

Emily, one of our more imaginative gelatistas in East Lansing, took the time on a slow morning to create flavor profiles for a few of our flavors. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did! Which one do you think you're most like? Emily feels that she is slightly a stracciatella, salted caramel, Zingerman’s coffee with a hint of vanilla (YUM).

Just like how you can mix as many flavors in any size at the store, same goes for the personalities -- it’s NOT one personality fits all.

Also, you may not identify with ANY of these characteristics and that’s okay too, that’s why you should come in and put a personality to the flavors yourself!


This guy is very well liked and he knows it too! He has a personality that radiates confidence and slight arrogance. He is a social butterfly and gets along with everybody. Every personality wants a taste of this guy.

Zuppa Inglese   

Such a mysterious character! Nobody can figure this person out and she is always keeping people guessing. She is really popular with some people, but some are not a fan of her ambiguous persona.

Mango & Cream  

She has an eye for fashion and makes a statement with her appearance. People are so in awe of her style that she usually can get away with saying few words when socializing. Though she is considered approachable and not intimidating.


One of the cockiest people you will ever meet. He is well aware of how loved he is and uses it to his advantage. If this guy is competing for affection with someone he will win every time. His competitive aura and good looks turn people on.


This woman can be a real brat. She has no filter and will say whatever she thinks (even if it is not so nice). People like her when she giving sweet feedback, but when she acts sassy people get really irritated.

Crème Brule  

The sophisticated and elegant person who has seriously expensive taste. They will be your best friend if you meet the lavish standard they maintain for whom they associate with, but you are likely to be a victim of judgment with this character.

Chocolate Oreo  

Oh this man is the life of the party! He always is the first to arrive and last to leave because he likes to party hard. This is somebody who is great to have fun with, but not so good at maintaining a serious, genuine conversation.


Shy and sweet! She always has a smile on her face and is full of positivity. Loves self-reflection, yoga, and poetry. She keeps to herself most of the time and takes a while to open to people. She has a tendency to fall in love with a lot of people and unfortunately it is usually not reciprocated because she is too quiet to voice how she feels.

Salted Caramel  

The emotional rollercoaster, manipulating, dazzling diva. When this person feels good they will act as the most endearing, charming character, but if they feel down you do not want to be around them. They have the ability to make you the happiest person alive or the saddest.

Cookie Butter  

The best word to describe her is “infatuation.” She will have you dreaming of her and keep you coming back for more. The only problem is she knows how wanted she is and takes that into consideration when she needs/wants something from you.

Thin Mint  

The coolest dude you will ever meet! Never fights with anyone and often plays the role of the mediator with other characters. His knowledge about music, art, and traveling will have to wanting to talk to him for hours. He always says the right things and everyone either wants to be like him or friends with him.

Zingerman’s Coffee  

The studious character that is always studying something and babbling about a topic that they find fascinating. Drinks way too much coffee and talks at such a fast pace it can be challenging to pay attention. This person always has your back with educational questions.  

Tart Cherry Sorbetto

A ballerina with an edge. The personality is best described as vibrant and spunky. Never take her at face value because she will lure you in with a shiny appeal and then take a sour twist.

Raspberry Sorbetto  

An emotional character who demonstrates a sweet sensitivity in all endeavors. He’s the type of gentleman who will buy roses for strangers on the street and show public affection with those he admires.

Pineapple Sorbetto  

A tanned tropical beauty that considers tanning on the beach a full time job. She will dazzle you with her tangy charm. She is also a dedicated vegan who loves to cook using lots of fruits and vegetables.

Mango Sorbetto  

Someone who is wise beyond their years and always gives great advice. This character is very goal-oriented and makes many plans for the future. They exude a calm and sweet energy everyone craves.

Iorio's Takes Miami

At the beginning of the year, some members of the Iorio’s team ventured to Miami, Florida for a three day intense gelato lab training. We spent several days improving our craft, learning new recipes, and testing out new ingredients for our gelato.

Head Chef Paulo taught the group new recipes for gelato popsicles, gelato sandwiches, and other treats. One of our favorite discoveries was the gelato popsicles. Gelato covered in chocolate, maybe even rolled in nuts, on a stick for an easy to eat delicious treat? Yes, please!

Check out some of the new products we crafted:


What do you think? Would you like to see some of these gelato creations at your local Iorio’s Gelato cafe?

Other highlights included our very own Nick Lemmer singing karaoke in an Irish bar, visiting the local gelaterias (Vixi was a favorite), and learning to ride hoverboards.

On the journey home we did get stuck at the Miami Airport for six hours. Talk about team bonding! Mostly we passed the time by eating airport snacks and the largest avocado discovered by man, but we did manage to sneak some conversations in about gelato, flavors, improvements, and more “work” related topics.


Gelatista of the Month: Kaitlin B.

Kaitlin is one of our gelatista veterans. Her enthusiasm for gelato and love for the Iorio's team is unwavering. Thanks, Kaitlin!

Favorite gelato flavor?

Oh boy. I have a list. In no particular order:

  • Raspberry Chocolate Chunk
  • Toasted Coconut
  • Caffe Mocha
  • Dark Venezuelan Chocolate
  • Turtle Cheesecake

How long have you been on the Iorio’s Team and what keeps you coming back?

Iorio’s is my FAMILY! I was a fresh, young newbie in August of 2014, so it’s been roughly a year and a half. There are many reasons why I’m still here: I love our leadership, I love that Iorio’s is a student-run business, and every person who works here is awesome. It really does feel like a second family to me; whenever I don’t want to go home or have a free moment, I automatically head to Iorio’s even when I’m not working.

When you’re not scooping gelato or brewing espresso, what can we find you doing?

Probably writing fan fiction or playing video games. My most recent favorite was Undertale or Transistor (haven’t finished that one yet though). Other hobbies include: cleaning, playing the piano, kicking a soccer ball around the squash courts in CCRB.

What’s one thing about you that customers would be surprised to know?

One time, when I lived in West Quad, I ran into Trey Burke and Mitch McGary while I was holding two full tubs of frosting. Bonus second Surprise Fact: I used to be able to fold my ears inside themselves, because I’m an alien. Now I have too many piercings to do that.

If you could create one dream gelato flavor, what would it be?

Ooooh, someone once suggested “Coconut Cream Pie” and that would be my ABSOLUTE! dream.


Brew Method Profile: The AeroPress

Many coffee aficionados around the world think that the AeroPress is the best way to make a cup of coffee. Its efficiency and simplicity make it one of the most underrated brew methods out there. Check out Sandwich Video's one minute video about the AeroPress' process below:

Furthermore,  not only did the inventor of the AeroPress revolutionize coffee, he also revolutionized the Frisbee (?!). Check out his fascinating story by David Friedman: 

A Gelatista Abroad

One of our lovely gelatistas, Mysha (read her Gelatista of the Month interview here), is currently studying abroad in Italy and wanted to share some of the beautiful photos she's taken so far. We miss you, Mysha, and look forward to your next update!

Mysha (second from right) and friends at the Colosseum

Mysha (second from right) and friends at the Colosseum

"Everything here is so incredible! The endless hospitality and always feeling included and welcomed by the people is so warm and wonderful. The people make you feel like a part of the family instantly."

Iorio's Alumni Update: Brynn Kolada

Co-founder Nick Lemmer recently got in touch with one of Ann Arbor's original gelatistas, Brynn Kolada. We're thankful to have such a strong foundation of team members that keep our stores running, past and present. Read below for the full interview!

When did you work at Iorio's?

July - December 2011 (I was an "OG" you might say).

What have you been up to since?

In December 2011 I graduated, moved to Washington, DC, and worked with a few different women's health/global health/HIV non-profit organizations there for 3.5 years. I'm currently living in Lilongwe, Malawi and working with an awesome organization called mothers2mothers through a year-long fellowship with the Global Health Corps. We train and employ HIV-positive women to be peer educators and psychosocial support counselors for pregnant women who are just finding out their HIV status. 

How did you end up there?

I've always wanted to live abroad, and I've always been interested in working toward improved global health and social justice, so Global Health Corps was an awesome opportunity to do all those things! I'm just about seven months in, and loving it, although I must say, the gelato game is seriously lacking in Malawi. Next Iorio's franchise location?

Have you been back to Ann Arbor since? What brought you back?

I went back to Ann Arbor a few times in 2012 while most of my friends were still in school, and then for the 2013 for UTLII, Michigan vs. Notre Dame, which was incredible. I've been DYING to get back again, especially now that we have Harbaugh, so hopefully that'll be in the cards for this coming fall.

What is your favorite flavor of gelato?

Earl grey!

Yes or yes, Iorio's is the best job you've ever had?

Duh. But actually, maybe yes. I miss customer service work, and Iorio's was definitely the best customer service job I ever had (and I had a lot!).


Brew Method Profile: Chemex

The Chemex is a manual, pour-over style coffee maker invented by Peter Schlumbohm in 1941. Its unique glass design not only made it particularly desirable during World War II when other materials were in short supply, it also earned this coffee maker a spot at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City beginning in 1958. The stylish apparatus did not stop with MoMA, however. The Chemex has appeared in popular culture time and time again in the past decades.

10 Times the Chemex has Appeared in Pop Culture:

  1. Sabrina (1954): In the romantic comedy, starring Audrey Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart, and William Holden, a Chemex can be seen in Linus’s office, on the corner of the bar.

  2. From Russia, with Love (1957): In his well known spy novel, Ian Fleming describes James Bond brewing his morning coffee using a Chemex.

  3. Pillow Talk (1959): Doris Day’s character, interior designer Jan Morrow, makes coffee using a Chemex in this comedy.

  4. Harper (1966): The Chemex makes an appearance in this detective flick when private eye Lew Harper, played by Paul Newman, starts his day off with a cup of joe from his Chemex.

  5. Rosemary’s Baby (1968): In the well-known horror film, a Chemex is used by Rosemary herself.

  6. The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-77): A Chemex coffeemaker can be seen in the the kitchen of Mary Richards’ apartment.

  7. Friends (1994): In the pilot episode of the beloved sitcom, a Chemex sits on the stove in Monica’s apartment. Joey is seen drinking coffee from the coffeemaker in a subsequent episode!

  8. Mad Men (2007-15): The Chemex appears in Don Draper’s kitchen in the popular period drama.

  9. Interstellar (2014): Although not used for its typical purpose, a Chemex can be seen on the dining room table, filtering dust out of the drinking water.

  10. Grace & Frankie (2015-): Last, but certainly not least, the Chemex makes an appearance in this new Netflix original series.

Shout out to these and other characters over the past decades who have turned to the Chemex for their coffee brewing needs. Keep it classy, Hollywood!


Gelatista of the Month: Kate S.

Thanks for all your hard work, Kate! We'll work on getting your dream flavor made in the Gelato Lab...

Favorite gelato flavor?

Combination of Turkish Roast and Fresh Strawberry

How long have you been on the Iorio’s Team and what keeps you coming back?

I’ve been part of the team for over a year now. I love everything about the job and the gelato-serving mission. I truly enjoy interacting with my coworkers and customers...and of course, the gelato is an added bonus.

When you’re not scooping gelato or brewing espresso, what can we find you doing?

I do some part-time modeling for Victoria’s Secret, I’m helping produce J. Bieber’s new album “Purposeless”, teaching myself Russian, and I volunteer at a local kindergarten twice a week. If I still have time to spare, I like watching the Bachelor with my housemates, running, and contemplating the meaning of life.

What’s one thing about you that customers would be surprised to know?

That only two of the aforementioned things are true. Also, I whistle an octave higher than the average human being. I’ve tried whistling lower but can’t quite figure it out.  

If you could create one dream gelato flavor, what would it be?

Liquefied and refrozen York Patty with brownie chunks




Iorio’s Origins: 5 Things to Know about Morrone del Sannio

The Iorio family originated in Morrone del Sannio, Italy.  Morrone, as we call it for short, is a municipality in the Campobasso province in the Molise region in Italy. It’s a small town, but is full of history and charm. Here are five facts about Marrone we wanted to share with our loyal Iorio’s following:

  1. History of Morrone del Sannio. In the 15th century Morrone was a fiefdom of the Santangelo and then Di Sangro. The two fuedal lords, in 1303, were Giovanni and Adelmario
  2. Morrone tradition. On the first Sunday in May the statue of the Virgin Mary is carried in a procession to the parish church of Morrone, and the second in October when it is carried back to the chapel in Casalpiano, in a symbolic seasonal migration parallel to the migration of shepherds to Apulia.
  3. Food of Morrone. A very typical dish in Morrone are cookies called “pecellate”, which are made with semolina flour, walnuts, wine, and orange peel.
  4. The patron saint of Morrone is San Modesto.
  5. A sight worth seeing. The ruins of the Badia of Casalpiano, which were built in the 12th century & destroyed by the terrible earthquake in 1456, are second only to the natural, breathtaking views of Morrone.

Have No Fear, Dietary Accommodations Are Here!

Iorio’s recognizes that not everyone is comfortable or able to indulge in all of our flavors, whether it is due to allergies, intolerances, or simple preferences on ingredients that our customers would rather avoid.  

First and foremost, we would like you all to feel welcome to ask any of our knowledgeable staff about any questions you may have regarding ingredients or how our gelato is processed and we will always be happy to help!

Additionally, we would like to highlight a few options that are available to our customers that you may not have been aware of:

Vegan & Dairy Intolerance/Allergies:

Iorio’s serves sorbetto, a frozen dessert that is ice-based rather than milk-based.  In other words, it contains no dairy products.  With rare exception, our sorbetto flavors are vegan-friendly and come in a wide variety of flavors ranging from Bittersweet Chocolate to Basil to our famous Mango. Our waffle cones are vegan as well, so feel free to try out your sorbetto with a sweet, crunchy cone!

Gluten Intolerance:

The majority of our gelato and sorbetto flavors are gluten-free.  We do on occasion have flavors that include cake, cookie, or brownie pieces; however, on any given day there are plenty of options for those that choose or need to avoid products containing gluten.  

Nut Allergies:

A number of our gelato flavors do contain nuts, though certainly not all of them.  Keep in mind that many of our flavors have traditional Italian names, and it may not be obvious that they contain nuts, so again, please feel free to ask if you have any concerns.

A Note on Alcohol:

Iorio’s provides a number of gelato and sorbetto flavors that are initially processed with different types of alcoholic beverages; many are traditional to Italy, such as the rum in our Zuppa Inglese or Limoncello liqueur in our Limoncello flavor.  However, the final gelato and sorbetto product has no remaining alcohol content.

And don't forget that we list our in store flavors on our website if you'd like to check beforehand.

Gelatista of the Month: Mysha Bryan

Our Gelatista of the Month for December is Mysha! She'll be studying abroad next semester in Italy, so she'll be keeping us updated on all her gelato related adventures. We'll miss you, Mysha!


What is your favorite gelato flavor?

Turtle Cheesecake or Spumoni!

How long have you been on the Iorio’s Team and what keeps you coming back?

I’ve been on the Iorio’s (Dream) Team for about five months. I keep coming back because a) I love gelato, and b) to spend quality time with my gelato family.

When you’re not scooping gelato or brewing espresso, what can we find you doing?

I am an Earth Science major at UofM, so when I am not at work I am usually nerding out about new fossils at the Ruthven Natural Science museum. I also like to play outside, listen to stand up comedy, and rock out the Rolling Stones.

What’s one thing about you that customers would be surprised to know?

I make the worst jokes ALL the time then laugh at how bad they are.

If you could create one dream gelato flavor, what would it be?

Double Chocolate Caramel Fudge Cookie Dough Brownie Chunk.

The Story of Iorio's Gelato

We’re the founders of Iorio’s Gelato - Mary and Nick Lemmer, siblings, business partners, and historically opponents of Beanie Baby fights in our childhood basement.  This is the story of how Iorio’s Gelato came to be.

Nick and Mary Lemmer

Nick and Mary Lemmer

We were inspired to start Iorio’s by our family heritage and somewhat selfish desire to enjoy authentic Italian treats from our youth years spent with our Italian family, anytime of year in Michigan.

Our great grandparents, Luigi and Maria Iorio (pronounced “ee-or-ee-oe”) immigrated with their family to Philadelphia from Morrone del Sannio, Italy.  A young and hungry entrepreneur, Luigi built apartments, houses, and opened a general store.  Little did he know, his Italian roots, strong work ethic, and determination to create a comfortable life for his family would go on to inspire his great grandchildren many years later...

We spent our summers visiting our family in Philadelphia and New Jersey, and it became a regular practice to enjoy Italian water ice, typically served out of a small freezer food cart.  Back in Michigan, Italian water ice would be nowhere to be found.  Rather than wait to visit the east coast to enjoy this tasty summer treat, we decided to bring the treat to Michigan.  With the love, support, and seed investment from their parents, we were in business with an Italian ice cart of our own.  We started the business in 2004.  At the time, Mary was barely a teenager and Nick’s voice hadn’t changed yet (this is the reason why Nick started out his Iorio’s career doing less outbound marketing and more behind the scenes operations).  The original name, “Iorio Italian Ice” was inspired by our hardworking, entrepreneurial great grandfather Iorio.  Plus, we didn’t know better at the time to choose a name that people could easily spell and pronounce.

The early Iorio's Italian Ice

The early Iorio's Italian Ice

Lots of blood, sweat, tears, and stickiness later, Iorio Italian Ice grew into a local summer hit!  People of Michigan loved the thirst-quenching and refreshing summer treat.  They liked it so much they would ask where the retail store was located.  The business was only on wheels at the time, but enough people were interested in buying from a store, that we seriously started to consider what a retail expansion would look like.

We discovered the Lansing City Market, which was the perfect venue for a retail presence, without needing our own space.  We were able to have an open space along with other food vendors in a historic building near the capital of the state.  

Iorio's at Lansing City Market

Iorio's at Lansing City Market

A trip to Italy, dozens of gelaterias, and hundreds of gelato samplings later, Mary was inspired to bring gelato back to Michigan.  Gelato is an important part of Italian culture, as commonplace as a coffee, and there are over 20,000 gelaterias in Italy, with very few in the U.S. and even fewer in Michigan.  Plus it’s delicious even during the cold Michigan winter!

We both ended up going to the University of Michigan, and when Mary graduated in 2010 we had a great opportunity to open our first store in Ann Arbor.  We transformed an old cell phone accessory store into a slice of Italy, smack dab in the heart of downtown Ann Arbor.  It has become a safe haven for students hiding from homework, recovering from an exam, or celebrating a special moment with a significant other or friend.  Families and students alike enjoy the tasty treat to brighten their day, no matter what the weather!

Iorio's Ann Arbor

Iorio's Ann Arbor

The Iorio’s Gelato journey continues, with our newest store in East Lansing.  Though we’ve been in Wolverine-country for several years now, we’re excited to share the sweetness with the Spartans too, bringing our authentic Italian gelato and coffee, in partnership with Zingerman’s, to the Trowbridge Center.

Iorio's East Lansing

Iorio's East Lansing

We look forward to meeting you and building our future story together.


Mary and Nick Lemmer

Need a place to study?


What more needs to be said? Cramming, all nighters, exams, and projects call for caffeine. And Iorio’s has the best of it, serving all Zingerman’s Coffee and Rishi hot tea. Authentically hand-made coffee drinks, specializing in 5 unique brew methods (including French press), we make coffee just for you, made to order.

2. The two best words in the English language: FREE PARKING.

What’s the worst part about campus? Let’s say it all together now: the parking. Just thinking about it makes me groan. Finding the perfect study spot is no longer plagued with quarters, meters, or tickets. Our lot is completely open to students, as it should be. No need to add more stress to already the most stressful week of the year. 

3. Treat yo’self to homemade GELATO and non-dairy SORBETTOS.

Oh yeah, we’re a gelato shop. Did we forget to mention that? So on top of our gourmet coffee drinks, we serve a variety of creamy gelato, not to be confused with ice cream. No, unlike ice cream, gelato is densely packed with flavor, so say goodbye to brain freezes. It’s also lower in fat than ice cream, using primarily milk instead of cream. And our sorbettos are so packed with fresh fruit, you’ll think you’re eating the real thing. Don’t believe us? Try a sample, or 10. We won’t stop you.

4. The other two best words in the English language: FREE WIFI.

Not only is our wifi free of payment or top-secret passwords, it’s fiber. It’s that top level wifi you’ve only dreamed about. Imagine a world with free, high-level fiber wifi. And then come over to Iorio’s and live in that world.

5.     Our studying space has one thing the library doesn’t: SPACE.

Right now, Iorio’s is the best kept secret around town, so we’re not yet packed with near-panicked freshman looking for a single chair to sit in, let alone an entire table. Also, we’re a café, so people come in and out, and you’ll be sure to find a spot. Come in and cram all night, without being crammed literally.  

6.     No headphones? No problem. We have speakers hooked up all around playing your favorite study jams.

The right study jam can completely transform your mood and turn even the most unmotivated into an elite study machine. Here at Iorio’s, we can play your favorite Pandora radio, Spotify song, album, or anything else your heart desires. In the meantime, we’ll play the most relaxing and chillest music to calm your study anxiety.

7.     Study lighting is just right.

It’s easy to get frustrated when studying in dim lighting while holed up in a deep corner of some academic building. At Iorio’s, every seat is a window seat, so you can remember there’s actually a world beyond studying, believe it or not. And our lighting is the perfect combo of not too bright, but not too sleepy, which is also an accurate description of every student during finals week.

8.     Get to where you need to be when studying: AWAY.

It’s hard to stay focused on exams when your friend is next door raging. It’s even harder when the city is so packed it’s impossible to find some peace and quiet. Iorio’s is tucked away right off the border of campus so you’ll have a buffer between you and everything else. Get here, and get going.

9.     Remember that delicious coffee we mentioned? Yeah, it’s FREE sometimes.

EVERY DAY THIS WEEK WE SERVE FREE COFFEE FROM 11AM-3PM. For real. Our MSU Student Study Hours (click here) are a great way to get that extra push you need, without worrying about paying. We’ll say it again for the people in the back…that great Zingerman’s brew is ALL YOURS FOR 4 HOURS EVERY DAY! This is the only happy hour you should be going to this week, and it’s one you won’t regret the next day. We know you’re a student, and you’re broke. You’re welcome in advance.

    10. Need we say more?

We’ll sum it up for you: Great coffee. Great gelato. Great tunes. Great parking. It’s every student’s studying fantasy. Live that fantasy at Iorio’s Gelato & Caffé, 1034 Trowbridge Road.

Credit: Taylor Orebaugh

Gelatista of the Month: Kelly Forman

At Iorio's we're thankful for the hard work and positive energy our gelatistas bring to our stores each day. As November draws to a close, we'd like to introduce our first Gelatista of the Month: Kelly Forman! Thanks for all your hard work, Kelly! Continue reading below for her interview...

What is your favorite gelato flavor?  

Lemoncello!  It is such a unique and delicious flavor.  Lemoncello is a great mix of lemon tartness but also smooth creaminess, and there really isn’t any ice cream flavor like it.  I’m guilty of sneaking extra samples when it’s in our store.

How long have you been on the Iorio’s Team and what keeps you coming back?

I have been on the Iorio’s Team since May 2013!  Iorio’s is simply one of my favorite places to be on campus.  It’s right off of the Diag but still has a slightly off-campus feel to it, resulting in a great mix of students and Ann Arbor residents coming in and out and a great way to feel a strong connection to the overall Ann Arbor community.

It truly is a rare day that someone walks into our store unhappy; they are about to eat delicious gelato, how could they not be smiling?  I have worked at Iorio’s throughout my college years and even beyond because it truly is a fun and positive work environment. In working at Iorio’s, I am able to take part in making someone’s day a little bit brighter which is a pretty priceless experience.

When you’re not scooping gelato or brewing espresso, what can we find you doing?

I am often traveling back and forth to the Ross School of Business, where I attended undergrad and have worked as a TA and administrative assistant.  You might also see me running around campus; I try not to eat too much gelato but it is somewhat irresistible, so the running helps me keep myself in check!

What’s one thing about you that customers would be surprised to know?

Customers may be surprised to know that while I consider myself quite knowledgeable about all espresso drinks and how to make them, I do not drink coffee!  I for some reason dislike the taste and have just never been too interested in it.  However, this does not stop me from enjoying making espresso drinks that customers will find delicious!  Have you tried a Nutella Latte lately?  You really should try it.

If you could create one dream gelato flavor, what would it be?

Lemoncello Stracciatella.  This wouldn’t be a mix of two traditional Italian flavors, a Lemoncello gelato base with dark chocolate flakes.  Lemon+chocolate=greatness, right?  I’m not exactly sure because I’ve never had it before, but I think I can envision the greatness.  In fact, I’d better heckle our owner Nick to get this flavor in the store ASAP...


Nutella & Iorio's: A Love Story

Nutella in its earliest form was created in the 1940s by Pietro Ferrero in Italy, where it was originally marketed as “pasta gianduja,” pasta, the Italian word for paste, and gianduja (or gianduia), a popular Italian carnival character of the time. It has perhaps become one of the unofficial symbols of Italy, along with Vespas, the Colosseum, and most importantly gelato. It only seemed natural, therefore, for Iorio’s to combine the most delicious of these symbols, gelato and Nutella, in a truly magical and life changing tasting experience. Continue reading for the complete guide to our Nutella related flavors…


The Classic: Gianduia

You simply can’t go wrong with Gianduia, the classic Nutella gelato experience. Smooth milk chocolate and hazelnut come together in perfect harmony to create this customer and gelatista favorite. One taste and you’ll never go back. An Iorio’s guarantee.

The Romantic: Bacio

Bacio means “kiss” in Italian, so this flavor will easily sweep you off your feet. Based on the Italian Baci candy, Bacio’s dark chocolate gelato envelopes crunchy hazelnut pieces. It’s more intense than Gianduia, but you’ll fall in love instantly.

The MVP: Nutella Cheesecake

This flavor has the best of the best: cheesecake, gelato, and Nutella. Cheesecake pieces and Nutella swirl are brought together in dense vanilla gelato for something that goes above and beyond the more traditional flavors.

And yet our love for Nutella at Iorio’s couldn’t stop with gelato. Adding espresso to the mix seemed only natural...

The Nutella Latte

Nutella adds just the right amount of chocolate and hazelnut to the traditional latte. Coffee and Nutella? What’s not to love? We can make it iced or hot, so there’s a Nutella latte for every season.

World Nutella Day is February 5th. But show this blog post to your gelatista at either Iorio's location through Sunday, November 29th for $1 off any size Nutella Latte.