At Pazzo Gelato, Michael Buch has seen Silver Lake transform in 20 years

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Michael Buch considered opening a dry cleaning business and a gas station before settling on a gelateria. Photo courtesy of Pazzo Gelato.

Two decades ago, Michael Buch was toying with the idea of leaving the corporate world and starting a business with his brother-in-law. They considered a dry cleaning business or a gas station but settled on a gelateria. Several months later, they found a spot, spoke to the landlord, and signed a lease. The only thing left to do was learn how to make gelato. Neither of them had a clue. Ultimately, Buch met an Italian man who owned five gelaterias and showed them the ropes. A year later, Buch bought out his brother-in-law and has been scooping seasonally driven flavors on Sunset Boulevard ever since.

Twenty-four farmers market-inspired flavors are available in the case at any given time. Photo courtesy of Pazzo Gelato.

The highest quality ingredients help make Pazzo Gelato unique, Buch says: "Every single flavor that we make has its own unique approach. It takes a lot more time but the flavor is what makes it all worth it." Over the years, Buch has conceived of hundreds, if not thousands, of flavors. The shop offers 24 flavors in the case and currently features Meyer lemon, blood orange, and a white peach gelatos.

Buch raised his family in the neighborhood and can walk to the store within 10 minutes. He has watched as small businesses have opened and closed along the block, particularly during the pandemic. When contractors started work a few doors down, Buch learned Portand's Salt & Straw was moving in.

Pazzo Gelato has been a neighborhood mainstay on Sunset Blvd. in Silver Lake for two decades. Photo courtesy of Pazzo Gelato.

"The community was pretty upset and pretty surprised by the fact that another ice cream shop was opening so close but also that it was a larger chain," Buch says. Although it reflected the neighborhood's changes, it wasn't what many people wanted to see in the area. "I think it really started this grassroots movement of not just adults, but children, also recognizing the importance of having local small businesses in their community, because when they walk around, they want to have something special."