VoyageLA - Meet Uli Nasibova of Gelateria Uli in Downtown LA & Beverly Grove

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Today we’d like to introduce you to Uli Nasibova.

Uli, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I’m originally from Baku, Azerbaijan. I moved to the U.S. to attend Colorado College in Colorado Springs, CO, where I double-majored in French Literature and Mathematical Economics. Following graduation, I worked in the world of finance for eight years, doing everything from investment banking to investment management research.

Around the same time, my husband and I were living in downtown Los Angeles, a neighborhood that was changing rapidly from a desolate place at night to a vibrant city center. Young entrepreneurs were taking risks and opening new businesses in our neighborhood and I saw that the community needed a frozen dessert café, badly. Inspired by the infectiously dynamic atmosphere in the neighborhood, I started experimenting on gelato recipes in my home kitchen. People are often surprised to find out that I am not Italian. I picked the gelato technique, over ice cream, because it is a healthier way of making frozen dessert (lower fat content, less air and served at a warmer temperature). I drew inspiration for my inventive flavors from the city of Los Angeles and the incredible cuisines it represented – from ube jam filled pastries in Historic Filipinotown to black sesame buns in San Gabriel valley to that soul-cleansing thom kha gai soup at Jitlada in Thai Town. To add to the list – abundance of delicious Mexican food at every corner that inspired one of my best-sellers Jamaica Agua Fresca sorbet with mint.

I utilized my finance background to create an extensive business plan and opened the doors of Gelateria Uli in Downtown Los Angeles in April of 2014. Our second location, on West 3rd Street in the Beverly Grove district, opened on August 31, 2017.