downtown los angeles, historic core

Downtown LA’s Broadway-Spring Arcade Continues to Transform with New Opening of Gelateria Uli

Gelateria Uli is a new dessert shop that has opened in the historic Broadway-Spring Arcade built in 1924 (Photo: Hunter Kerhart)

Gelateria Uli is a new dessert shop that has opened in the historic Broadway-Spring Arcade built in 1924 (Photo: Hunter Kerhart)

New gelato cafe, Gelateria Uli, opened this Monday inside the Broadway-Spring Arcade, one of Downtown LA’s most unique and beautiful historic buildings. The new dessert shop, owned by downtown resident Uli Nasibova, joins both Crepes Sans Frontieres (opened in 2013) and Famima (opened in 2012) as the arcade’s new businesses that are helping to transform this historic pedestrian corridor into an exciting and thriving center once again.

Gelateria Uli serves up a rich variety of gelato flavors says Eater LA including pistachio, salted caramel, poblano, coconut lemongrass, and raspberry sorbet. All of the gelato flavors are seasonal and made in-house daily. There’s also espresso and drip coffee that you can not only drink but pour over your gelato as well.

More exciting eateries are coming to the Broadway-Spring Arcade including Guisados (opening this summer directly next door to Gelateria Uli), BierBeisl Imbiss (a casual version of the shuttered Beverly Hills bistro), and the long-delayed Royal Clayton’s. Within the next 5 years, don’t be surprised if Broadway-Spring Arcade keeps coming up again and again as one of the hottest culinary destinations in Downtown LA.

The Broadway-Spring Arcade is a beautiful 12-story Beaux Arts/Spanish Renaissance structure completed in 1924 originally as an office building with its skylit arcade as its architectural centerpiece. Now converted into apartment lofts for rent upstairs, the historic building was the winning design to replace a narrow alleyway called Mercantile Place that dates back to 1884. Because the alley was lined with retail shops and had become an LA landmark according to the LA Conservancy, the Broadway-Spring Arcade kept that pedestrian corridor in the design and was once, in its heyday, lined with 61 shops.

For more info about Gelateria Uli, please visit them online.

The Broadway-Spring Arcade, with a striking similarity to SF's Ferry Building, was actually inspired by Burlington Arcade in London (Photo: Hunter Kerhart)

The Broadway-Spring Arcade, with a striking similarity to SF’s Ferry Building, was actually inspired by Burlington Arcade in London (Photo: Hunter Kerhart)

An inside look at Gelateria Uli (Photo: Hunter Kerhart)

An inside look at Gelateria Uli (Photo: Hunter Kerhart)

Yummy gelato that's seasonal and made in-house daily (Photo: Hunter Kerhart)

Yummy gelato that’s seasonal and made in-house daily (Photo: Hunter Kerhart)

The decor is simple, warm, and inviting (Photo: Hunter Kerhart)

The decor is simple, warm, and inviting (Photo: Hunter Kerhart)

Gelato and coffee please (Photo: Hunter Kerhart)

Gelato and coffee please (Photo: Hunter Kerhart)

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  1. Jim says

    Uggh…another pretentious gelateria. Whatever happened to a good old fashioned ice cream fountain. Anyone every been to Ice Cream Bar in SF or Fentons in Oakland. They are better than any gelateria I’ve experienced here or in Italy for that.

    • LAifer says

      Why be so negative? If this place wants to open in the arcade and continue to support its resurgence, then I’m all for it. Yes, it’d be lovely to have something that seems less pretentious, but this is the kind of business with lower inputs that can survive more easily while the arcade continues to work on improving foot-traffic. Give it a break and let’s see what comes of it.

    • Hey, there. I am Uli, the owner of the gelateria. It has been my dream and labor of love to make my vision of opening a gelato store in my neighborhood, specifically the Arcade building happen. We are not pretentious – we have unlimited generous samples and flavors inspired by our beautiful region, such as the poblano gelato. Please stop by and say hello. All the best, Uli

      • Definitely not pretentious. Uli, I’m not sure if we met, but we came in the other day – I believe it was Monday (a day after you opened?) with my girlfriend and our dog. A woman served us (you?) who was super welcoming and friendly. We ended up going with three scoops: pistachio, mint with cacao nibs, and the coffee. All amazing, coffee being my favorite.

        Really great to have you in the neighborhood and can’t wait for Guisados to open.

        We’ll definitely be back.

  2. Josh says

    @Jim, you’re insane. Old icream fountains can’t turn a profit because they don’t sell a premium enough products to outwieght overheads in a trendy place like this. But you’re mostly nuts because Italian gelaterias are one of the best parts about being over there.

    • corner soul says

      Well not to quibble, but I think both an old school ice cream parlour (with quality ingredients like those shops mentioned in the bay area), as well as this interesting sounding gelato shop could both do very well downtown.

      People love ice cream on a hot day, and we have a lot of those in Los Angeles.

  3. jerell says

    Gelato is healthier than ice cream lol… maybe bit a clean eat but still better than ice cream

  4. sebastian says

    This alley wold have looked so much nicer if they put some real stone work on the floor like the ones in the old stoned streets of New York, or refurbished the checkered floor rather than putting those tiles.

    • Agreed, and something around the entrance to entice people to come in would help as well.

  5. sebastian says

    That Pistachio Ice cream looks so inviting.

  6. Dennis Smith says

    Since they indicate having night time hours, does that mean the arcade will finally be open to pedestrian traffic in the evening? Will it be opened on both the Broadway and Spring Street ends of the arcade? If so, it will be an important step in getting Broadway based businesses to get past their fear of the dark and encouraging further pedestrian traffic (and business success) on Broadway in the future.

  7. Bee says

    @Jim, Uli, etc. Gelato is amazing. I love ice cream, but gelato is next level delicious. Good luck! I’ll be there ASAP.

  8. Sarah says

    Its SO tasty, doesn’t seem too healthy really… It’s not a juicer. Mainly- it’s really not pretentious. The vibe is really sweet and inviting. Just try it. I don’t think you’ll complain afterwards. The owner is normal and sweet, she’s always there along with her husband, and they are so excited about their shop.

  9. wildstar says

    There’s nothing pretentious about gelato – sheesh. If you want ice cream, go to the cycle creamery place on Main. What a grump!

  10. Tony Hoover says

    Finally! Hope these places do well and can hang on until this part of Broadway gets going.

  11. Uli’s gelato is beyond amazing! If you’re worried about calories, go the sorbetto route! The atmosphere is tranquil and they’re open to people sitting on the patio working from their space. Imagine that! An awesome business that is wi-fi friendly and allows you to get some office time in a beautiful arcade space!

  12. Patty says

    This place is extremely cute & the service is excellent. It is not pretentious at all! The gelato is AMAZING! I met the owner, very sweet, professional young woman.

  13. I’m so ready for a gelato right now! Wish I wasn’t 50 minutes from downtown. Good luck Uli, and i’ll be there next time i’m downtown!

  14. archie says

    This place looks great and the gelato sounds delicious. It’s just too bad that in such a glorious arcade they did that tacky faux-Tuscan flooring. I guess it’s too late now. Yes, black and white square check like the Ace or something else would have been so much nicer and a bit elegant.

  15. Andrew W. says

    The space looks nice and hardly “pretentious”.

    I’m down with both gelaterias or old-fashioned ice cream fountains! :)

  16. wildstar says

    Just got back from a double salted caramel + coffee (gelato, not the beverage). Very awesome. Service was really friendly and the space is great.

  17. Jeff DTLA says

    I’ve been there three times and am hooked on the poblano gelato. Uli is one of the nicest and welcoming people I have met downtown. She puts a ton of heart into her gelato and you can taste the difference. @jim try some and maybe you will stop being such a curmudgeon!

  18. My fiance and I walked through the Arcade Building yesterday and were thrilled to find you there. There’s nothing pretentious about your place. The decor is very tastefully done. Your staff was friendly and very helpful. Between my fiance and me, we must have tried 5 or 6 different flavors between us. We got a triple scoop of chocolate banana, blackberry and something with an interesting name that I don’t remember. It was ALL good. I live in South Park, but I’ll happily walk or bike over to your place lots this summer. :-)

  19. Met Uli tonight and tried the Gelato, it is very verrry good. Everyone is friendly and non pretentious. This is for adults who appreciate something sweet but not overdosed with sugar.

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