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  1. Hillsborough

Mr. Penguin opens New Tampa location

Flavors will be made at the Hyde Park location and brought to the New Tampa Mr. Penguin daily. [DIVYA KUMAR | Times].

When Chris Oh first tasted gelati, the layered dessert of Italian ice and soft serve custard popular in the Northeast, he felt his life changed.

"It was mind blowing," he said.

Oh, who had a background in real estate, decided if he was going to take a risk he had to do it then. He wanted to bring gelati, which he first tried in his home state of California, to Florida, where he had lived since he was 10.

Oh teamed up with two business partners and opened the California-based franchise Mr. Penguin in Hyde Park. After more than four years of running the business and taking over sole ownership, Oh has opened a second location in New Tampa at 18089 Highwoods Preserve Pkwy.

"We opened this location because we really like this area," Oh said.

The store will have up to 25 flavors at a time, from cotton candy to green tea, allowing patrons to pair Italian ice flavors with different soft serve ice cream flavors, providing even more combinations. The ice creams and Italian ices will be made daily at the Hyde Park location.

"I am really glad because a lot of people like our product and we have many options for people who can't have dairy," Oh said.

The new location will be open from noon to 10 p.m., Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends. From today until Sunday, the location will be giving away small cups of gelati for free as part of its grand opening celebration.

Contact Divya Kumar at or follow @divyadivyadivya.