Husband and wife TJ and Ashley Reilly are bringing authentic gelato and ingredients from Italy to their new downtown McKinney shop.

The cafe had its grand opening March 16 at 101 N. McDonald St., Ste. 110, McKinney.

The gelato shop is named for TJ’s Sicilian grandmother Terri. She valued family, music and good food, all things she imparted onto her family members before dying due to pancreatic cancer complications, Ashley said.

“My grandmother loved music, and we just wanted to make [the cafe] a chill theme, a lot of good music, obviously going to have quality food because she wanted everything to be perfect,” TJ said. “Everything had to be Italian.”

The cafe is decorated in shades of its signature color purple, which was Terri’s favorite, Ashley said.

What sets the food at Terri’s Gelato Cafe apart is the quality ingredients, including fresh fruits and ingredients imported from Italy, Ashley said. This results in a better, fresher tasting gelato.

“When you're not putting all these preservatives, additives, different syrups and stuff, and you're using like the real deal, ... it really truly makes all the difference in the taste and the quality,” Ashley said.

The couple moved to McKinney 10 years ago from New York. Ashley, a former special education teacher, and TJ, previously in the construction business, have spent the past two years planning and developing their business’s concept.

“We've been brainstorming a family business to own, something that we could ... give back to our community and just start meeting more people within our community because we just love McKinney,” Ashley said.

Customers at Terri’s Gelato Cafe can try 12 flavors of gelato and sorbeto that are made fresh daily and include vegan options. The shop also plans to offer rotating seasonal flavors, such as the Lucky Charms and Chocolate Brownie Guinness flavors that debuted in March.

“I think one of the biggest compliments I got from a customer was, when he tasted our strawberry gelato, he said, ... ‘Oh my gosh, this is the first gelato I've had in the states where when I ate it, it brought me back to when I was in Rome with my wife,’” Ashley said. “That made us really happy.”

The shop also offers espresso drinks, teas and affogato, which is a scoop of gelato topped with a shot of espresso and a wafer cookie. The couple plans to add Italian sodas, waffle cones and pastries, including freshly made cannolis and Italian rainbow cookies, to the menu in the future, Ashley said.

The couple also plans to continue transforming the cafe space, including adding additional tables and lounge seating.

“I want it to be a little bit more loungey because I want people to ... really come and hang out and gather, and have fun and be with their family and friends,” Ashley said.

Making gelato
  • The gelato base often includes sugar, salt, dextrose, butter, eggs or milk.
  • The base ingredients are combined in a large mixer, along with flavoring ingredients, such as fresh fruit.
  • The combined ingredients are put into a gelato machine, which heats and pasteurizes the mixture.
  • The product is then freeze blasted before being placed in a freezer.
Gelato vs. ice cream

The key differences between gelato and ice cream are found in the ingredient ratios and preparation methods.

Gelato is:
  • 20% air incorporated, slow churned for more density
  • 5%-8% fat content
  • Served at 15 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
Ice cream is:
  • 60% air incorporated, whipped faster for less density
  • 10% fat content or more
  • Served at 5 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
Source: Terri’s Gelato Cafe/Community Impact

Terri’s Gelato Cafe

101 N. McDonald St., Ste. 110


Hours: Tue. 4-8 p.m., Wed.-Thu. noon-8 p.m., Fri.-Sat. noon-9 p.m., Sun. 1-6 p.m., closed Mon.