The word Amici means “friends” in Italian. With that in mind, Amici Gelato & Caffe wants to be a place where you can bring, and make, friends. As the name implies, Amici offers authentic gelato and Italian specialty drinks. In addition, the menu features gelato pops, sorbet, Italian desserts, freshly baked goods (including vegan pastries), paninis and sandwiches.
At Amici Gelato & Caffe, you’ll find traditional gelato flavors like hazelnut, tiramisu, and pistachio. “We try to recreate what’s popular in Italy,” says Emiliano Graci, gelato master. “We stay with Italian classics and also offer American favorites.” For example, American items include orange and cream, strawberry cheesecake, and Oreo.
Likewise, they have a full line of sorbet and gelato pops. They also plan to offer frozen yogurt, which is real yogurt with probiotics. They plan to serve the yogurt plain, then allow patrons to choose from 50 toppings to give it more flavor.
Of course, Amici also serves made-to-order cannoli. “It’s been a big surprise how popular it’s been,” says Graci. They import the shells from Italy in both mini and regular size. Fillings rotate, but range from traditional to pistachio to caramel. Meanwhile, you can add toppings like chocolate chips or nuts.
The cafe serves light fare like wraps and salads. Paninis are made with brick-oven baked ciabatta bread from Brooklyn. They serve sandwiches on either a croissant or bagel. Large, locally made vegan muffins are also on the menu. “People love them,” says Graci. “Our main goal is to try to make everyone happy.”
As you might expect, Amici also serves coffee. But not just any coffee, they offer illycaffe, a third-generation Italian coffee company. Graci explains that this is Italy’s most well-known brand. “It’s one-of-a-kind coffee,” he says. “It’s made from seven different kinds of beans that are each toasted in a different way and made into a special blend.”
A Story of Amici
Owners Rob Castore and Anthony Russo are two friends who grew up together in Brooklyn’s Little Italy. They came to the Jersey shore looking to recreate something from their childhood. (Graci explains that they chose Asbury Park since it has become a prestigious food destination.) The duo met Graci while traveling, who then moved from Milan to New Jersey more than 10 years ago.
Amici’s design invokes the look of a 1930s/1940s Italian cafe. In other words, you’ll find black and white with pops of red. Although they can’t match the low prices of food from the time period, they can come close. “We’re trying to recreate a place where a family can come three, four times a week without going broke,” says Graci. “You’ll get the best quality for a good price.”