Meet Wes Jones of Honeysuckle Gelato

07 22 2015 | Posted in Tenants

What started as a delicious gelato food truck in 2011 will now open its first brick and mortar location at the Ponce City Market Central Food Hall this fall. Honeysuckle Gelato, a southern take on a favorite frozen treat, will be serving up customer favorites in addition to new flavors inspired by local ingredients.

We caught up with Wes Jones, co-founder of Honeysuckle Gelato, to talk about opening their store at Ponce City Market, where they draw inspiration for new flavors, and what we can expect from this Southern-inspired gelato.

Photo by Khatera Ballard

What is the most exciting part about going from a food truck to a space at PCM?

Well, we had no air conditioning on the truck so that’s a major plus right off the bat. But in all seriousness, being part of Ponce City Market has given Honeysuckle Gelato a level of credibility that we’ve worked very hard to achieve. We’re in awe of the amazing chefs and businesses also in Ponce City Market; being in their company is humbling and scary and surreal all at once. To have our names share space with the likes of Sean Brock, Linton Hopkins, Hugh Acheson and Annie Quatrano… it’s hard to comprehend. When we look back at the food truck, we look back with pride and fond memories, but it also reminds us how far we’ve come.

What is the most popular Honeysuckle Gelato flavor?

Sea-Salted Caramel is far and away our most popular flavor.

What made PCM a good fit for Honeysuckle Gelato?

We always wanted a brick-and-mortar location, but we were very patient and selective when looking for the right space. It had to be the right fit for the Honeysuckle brand. Ponce City Market was our dream spot from day one because it combined all of the things we hoped for. I’m particularly excited because I live just down the BeltLine in Reynoldstown!

Photo by Jenny Sathngam

What is your favorite part of the PCM Central Food Hall?

The quality and diversity of food options at Ponce City Market is unmatched. I’m also excited about how open the space is. There will be plenty of room to relax both inside and outside; I love that visitors can sit at tables or just wander through the building, enjoying its many amenities.

What is the best part of being an Atlanta-based business?

I think Atlanta has really embraced small and local businesses of all types, so it’s a very exciting time to own a business in Atlanta. It’s also an exciting time for food all across the country, but especially in Atlanta, so we feel like we’re getting the best of both worlds. Atlantans take pride in their food and do a great job supporting those who make it. We’re certainly grateful.

What inspires you or inspire flavors for Honeysuckle Gelato?

We look for inspiration everywhere. We started the business with the idea of “combining the rich and smooth texture of gelato with the decadent flavors and desserts of the South.” I mean, our tagline is “Southern-inspired gelato,” so our initial inspiration came from our friends and families and the food we grew up making and enjoying with them. Now we constantly have customers and chefs asking us to make something different and unique for them. Some of those suggestions have led to a few of our favorite flavors. For example, a friend suggested we make a Biscoff-flavored gelato, which then morphed into a Biscoff gelato with peanuts and pretzels – and then we added caramel because we can’t resist adding caramel when given the opportunity – and “Snacks on a Plane” was born. So our friend and Delta Air Lines get credit for that one.

Photo by Khatera Ballard

Will there be any flavors making their debut at the Central Food Hall?

Absolutely! And the best part is most of them will come from our customers because of how we’re going to offer everything. Our philosophy at Honeysuckle Gelato is that no matter how delicious a particular flavor of gelato, it’s merely a single component of a dessert. For that reason, each serving you order from us at our retail location will offer at least three elements in it. We’ll provide a great selection of gelato, baked goods, and toppings that will give customers the opportunity to create some truly memorable desserts by choosing any combination of those three elements. We will of course list some of our favorite combinations, but we’re more excited about what people will come up with!

What is one thing that Honeysuckle Gelato fans might not know about their favorite treat?

We’re very excited to roll out a new give-back program at Ponce City Market. We’ll donate five percent of all of our proceeds to the Atlanta Community Food Bank. We want people to know that when they enjoy our gelato at Ponce City Market, they’re helping feed someone in need. Additionally, we work with the 180 Kitchen Culinary Arts Program at City of Refuge. We’ve already hired one amazing graduate of the program, and our second hire from the program starts soon! We know gelato is a treat and should be enjoyed as such, but we also want to make a difference in the city that has given us so much. Calories don’t count if they’re part of contributing to a good cause, right?

To find out more about Honeysuckle Gelato, like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter and Instagram!