Pidapipo’s first ever location, a 2013 pop-up, was subtitled “Test Lab”. The three-location gelateria has maintained that experimental mindset over the past seven years, but co-founder Lisa Valmorbida has been wanting more.

“Windsor is a tiny little kitchen. Carlton’s tiny, and you know how busy that store is all the time,” she says. “We just needed more space to do things properly and to do more stuff that we haven’t been able to in the past.”

Enter Pidapipo Laboratorio, a new flagship location opening at the northern end of Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, in March next year. Valmorbida and her brother Jamie have had their eyes on the site for a while. “It was an old bank, just sitting there for a really long time not doing anything,” she says.

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The corner site will have an open-plan gelato and cake production kitchen, with large windows adjoining Brunswick Street. On the other side, opening onto Cecil Street, will be a gelateria, cioccolateria (chocolate shop) and pizzeria operated by a soon-to-be-announced chef. A rooftop garden will grow lemon myrtle, strawberries, figs and other gelato-ready produce, and Nic Dowse of Honey Fingers will keep several beehives.

“The lab format really goes back to the roots of how Pidapipo started in 2013,” Valmorbida says. “From the early days, Nic would stop by with frames of honey, and friends would drop off a box of apricots they grew in their backyard asking me to make a flavour.

“That type of thing is what I’m most excited about. It’s an opportunity to showcase those special ingredients, but also have a space to experiment, evolve and perfect how we do things.”

The gelateria will scoop just 12 flavours at a time, as opposed to the 20 found at other Pidapipo stores, focusing on the new and exclusive. Flavours will be developed and premiered here before they’re rolled out to Carlton, Windsor and CBD.

In the cioccolateria, Pidapipo will be working closely with longtime collaborator Hunted + Gathered on exclusive chocolate products, to be packaged and sold on-site. And, of course, to create chocolate for swirling into various flavours of gelato.

Pidapipo Laboratorio will open at 429–431 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy in March 2021.