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Tèo closing store after 17 years, but it's not the end for Austin gelato brand

Addie Broyles, abroyles@statesman.com
Tèo Gelato originally launched from a shop on West 38th Street, but this week, the shop is closing so the company can focus on its grocery store sales. [Contributed]

Before there were more than dozen gelato and high-end dessert shops around Austin, Matthew Lee was selling his meticulously crafted take on Italy’s beloved ice cream from Tèo Gelato, a gelato-and-espresso shop on 38th Street.

After 17 years, the shop is closing this week with free scoops until supplies last on Friday.

Tèo gelato quickly became a hit with Austinites, but in Lee and his Tèo brand became internationally known when he won the U.S. portion of the Gelato World Tour in 2014. The following year, Tèo won the grand prize at H-E-B’s Quest for Texas Best contest, which launched the company into its next domain: Grocery stores. (Lee shared the recipe for his world tour-winning pecan whiskey gelato several years ago.)

Tèo is now available at more than 120 H-E-Bs and Central Markets around Central Texas, and that’s where Lee says he’s focusing his energy as he closes the shop at 1206 W. 38th St. that has served thousands of scoops over the years.

His staffers will serve the shop’s last scoops this week, ending with free ice cream from 9 a.m. until they run out on Friday, Jan. 31.

A press release announcing the closure cited a rent increase as the primary reason for closing the store.