New Hampshire gelateria makes Durham their home


Hailey Keel, Contributing Writer

One may think that ice cream is the best dessert out there but have they ever tried gelato? Especially gelato that tastes good enough to win the University of New Hampshire’s Real World Business Challenge? Recently, on March 3, UNH’s Marketing and Advertising Club teamed up with Ceo’s, a gelateria in Durham, New Hampshire and won the Real World Business Challenge, competing against companies such as Cheese Louise and Port City Pretzels. 

When Ceo’s isn’t competing in business challenges, they are busy at work. Located on Madbury road, in the heart of downtown, Ceo’s Gelato Bistro has been serving gelato in the college town since its re-grand opening in June 2022. 

Previously, the gelateria was located in Portsmouth, but owner Carolyn Ottney wanted a better area for people to enjoy gelato and coffee.

“I had been looking at Durham for a while because I thought the university vibe would be fun – and I was right!” Ottney said. Ceo’s sells a variety of gelato flavors and hot drinks such as coffee and tea. 

Gelato, a frozen Italian dairy dessert that has a higher density and freezes less solidly than ice cream, has recently become popular throughout the United States. For years, Ottney had a dream of opening her own shop, and after tossing around ideas, she decided to choose gelato because she believed that it was something that would make people happy.

When customers come to Ceo’s, they will be welcomed in a warm environment and can choose from 24 different flavors, including dairy-free sorbet. Customers have the option to eat inside the gelateria, or outside on the patio. 

“They can expect to see a bright welcoming space and a gelato ‘cabinet’ full of fun, interesting and delicious flavors,” Ottney said. “And they’ll be greeted with a smile and an offer to sample to their heart’s content.” 

Jordan Sherry, a student at UNH, decided to work at Ceo’s. “I heard it was a great place to work,” she stated. 

The jobs come with rewarding perks for not only the workers, but for customers as well. Sherry says that the best part of her job is the environment and the store makes her happy.

Another UNH student, Maggie Robinson, chose Ceo’s because of the location and because she had experience working at a similar business. 

Robinson says that the best part of her job is “making coffee as well as seeing the process of making the gelato from scratch.” Both have previously worked in ice cream shops back home. 

But what about other cafes in the area that sell similar products to people? Ottney says she has no worries. 

“Gelato is different from ice cream so I will continue to get the word out that this is made in-house, from scratch, using only natural ingredients. And also that gelato is lighter and yet somehow creamier than ice cream (it’s the magic of gelato).” 

To combat the harsh New Hampshire winters, Ceo’s provides free hot drinks with any order if it’s below 40 degrees outside.

Ceo’s has also worked with local UNH students since moving to Durham. So far, they have been working with UNH Best Buddies, unh students and various UNH sororities.

If one wants to try Ceo’s, they are open Sunday-Monday 1-8 p.m., Wednesday-Thursday 1-8 p.m., and Friday-Saturday 1-9p.m., year-round. They are closed Tuesdays. To follow and stayup to date with the gelateria, follow them on Instagram or Facebook