[embed-1] Paolo Dalla Zorza says he’s in jeopardy of losing his business due to the coronavirus. His shop, Paolo’s Gelato & Gourmet, was one of the first to hit Upper King Street when he opened in 2000 steps from 39 Rue de Jean and Basil. “This part of town was very scary at that time,” says Zorza.

Since opening, Zorza has delighted locals and tourists alike with his fresh fruit-infused gelatos with flavors like blueberry, pomegranate cherry, and pistachio. By offering milk and water-based gelatos, Zorza sets himself apart. “My formula is different because I combine fresh fruit with water or skim milk,” Zorza explains. “It’s much lighter than most because others use cream.”

Born in Venice, Italy, the charismatic owner was devastated when he began to realize the impact the coronavirus would have on his business.

“With the high rent we pay and no foot traffic, there’s no way we can survive if we don’t get more take out orders in. This is the reality,” shares Zorza, who wants people to know that he serves more than just gelato.

[content-1] From spaghetti aglio e olio to paninis or individual 10-inch Roman-style pizzas, Zorza has customers looking for affordable savory meals to-go covered. In addition, he’s selling pantry staples like pasta, extra virgin olive oil, and jarred roasted red peppers imported from Italy. Nightly ice cream is a must while we’re all stuck at home, so Paolo’s is helping you stuff your freezer with pints and quarts of stracciatella, chocolate, and more to-go.

Patrons can order online for take out, curbside pick-up, or delivery, and Zorza says Paolo’s is also on UberEats.

Toward the end of March, Zorza’s staff was furloughed in an effort to ensure there was a shop to return to when they were permitted. Instead of gearing up for his 20th anniversary party this September, Zorza is just trying to survive through the summer. “I’m not sure we’re going to make it.”

Stay cool. Support City Paper.

City Paper has been bringing the best news, food, arts, music and event coverage to the Holy City since 1997. Support our continued efforts to highlight the best of Charleston with a one-time donation or become a member of the City Paper Club.