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Local News

Philadelphia Gets a Taste of French Toast Bites Gelato

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Anzhe Zhang 

Those living in Philadelphia are in for a frosty treat this summer as Charisse McGill, owner of Lokal Artisan Foods, has teamed up with Cloud Cups ice cream founder, Galen Thomas, to serve up a whole new flavor of gelato – French Toast Bites.

“French Toast Bites has evolved so much over the past few years from just being a street food,” McGill noted, who said that the partnerships were initially a means of bracing through the pandemic. Her business has since collaborated with companies like Bean2Bean Coffee Company and Yards to bring its bite-sized confections to a broader audience.

“The energy behind the products have inspired new products, like now the gelato. I am proud to partner with a fellow Black-owned business,” McGill said.

“Being able to create one-of-a-kind products with one-of-a-kind friends has always held a special place in my heart,” Thomas said. “It’s made with real French Toast Bites.”

Connected by mutual friends, Thomas and McGIll decided right away that they wanted to collaborate on a new kind of gelato, using McGill’s French Toast Bites as the basis.

McGill first started selling her signature French Toast Bites in 2019. As was the case for many small-business owners, things looked difficult for McGill once the pandemic lockdowns set in, but quick thinking, organizing, and direct deliveries made 2020 a transformative pivot for McGill, who became the first vendor on Black and Mobile, a Black-owned delivery app.

McGill was one the 60 people to earn a grant from Black People Eats, and now operates two brick-and-mortar French Toast Bites locations.

The French Toast Bites Gelato will be served throughout July at Spruce Street Harbor Park, Cherry Street Pier, Pizza Brain, and other locations. The gelato is also available in two different flavors – strawberry and stracciatella.