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Sellwood scoop: Actor Randy Schulman opens gelato cart



TRIBUNE PHOTOS: JAIME VALDEZ - Actor Randy Schulman has found great success since moving to Portland, appearing in 'Grimm,' 'Leverage' and 'Wild,' and he has joined the areas food cart culture with Atlas Scoops.You might recognize him from his role in “Grimm,” but this summer you’re most likely to find Randy Schulman at his gelato cart Atlas Scoops in Sellwood.

Open for its second season, the bright teal and yellow cart stands out on the grassy knoll where it’s parked, behind Sock Dreams on Southeast 13th Avenue.

The cart’s family-friendly atmosphere and entertainment — including silent movies and performances from local musicians — form what Schulman hopes will become Portland’s newest summertime destination.

“There’s all these kids, all these families in Sellwood, but there was no gelato, no ice cream here,” says Schulman’s wife, Delcie Adams, a fellow actor.

“This is not something I always had mapped out in my head,” Schulman adds. “It’s a blend of what our area needs, what it doesn’t have, and how we can go into business for ourselves. And, also stay flexible for when I book work.”

After a successful first season, Atlas Scoops has expanded this summer with a bike cart in Westmoreland Park that will serve two flavors of gelato and a sorbet.

The bike cart also will be at Sellwood Riverfront Park concerts for five Mondays, starting July 5.

They serve eight flavors of Staccato Gelato at the cart, including a vegan sorbet, classic vanilla and chocolate, and more sophisticated options such as caramel sea salt and honey lavender.

With a bucket of chalk placed on the sidewalk adjacent to the cart, lawn games in the seating area and lights strung above, Schulman has kept the cart’s atmosphere family-focused and simple.

Next month, Schulman plans to begin Saturday night screenings of old Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin silent movies. He also wants to bring in local musicians to perform at the cart.

So how does one go from acting to running a food cart? Schulman, 47, grew up in Los Angeles and began acting at the age of 9. He attended San Francisco State University, where he met his wife, Adams.

The couple owned a theater company in Los Angeles for nearly 10 years, which won the Ovation Award for Best World Premiere Play, for the play Schulman wrote and directed — “La Gioconda.”

Schulman was working in the MTV story department when they decided to move to Portland.

“A lifestyle change is what we were looking for — and we believed Portland would be a healthier place to raise our daughter,” he says.

TRIBUNE PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Says Randy Schulman, of opening a gelato food cart: 'This is not something I always had mapped out in my head.'The couple and their daughter, Atlas, whom the cart is named for, moved to Portland six years ago, when his daughter was less than a year old. They moved without jobs lined up, and intended to stop working as actors.

“But I quickly realized TV and film production was evolving here — and so I signed with an agency and began booking work,” he says.

Schulman began his work in Portland by acting in a lead role in the independent film “House of Last Things,” with RJ Mitte, the son from “Breaking Bad.”

He followed it up by guest starring on “Leverage,” booking a recurring role on “Grimm” as Freddy Calvert, owner of the spice shop, and playing Reese Witherspoon’s therapist in “Wild.” He just finished filming for “Cabin Fever,” a horror movie remake of the 2002 film.

Adams has booked commercials, including one for M&M’s.

“Ironically, my wife and I always joke that we moved a thousand miles away from the nucleus of the film and television industry in order to finally, and unexpectedly, book more consistent work,” he says.

When moving to Portland, Schulman and Adams had decided they wanted to start a business together.

They originally wanted to open a home design and furnishing store, but realized the time and financial commitment of owning and operating a store would be overwhelming.

After Staccato Gelato, a Portland-based gelato company, closed its Sellwood location in 2012, Schulman came up with a way to bring gelato back to their neighborhood in February 2014.

In April 2014, Schulman found a cart in British Columbia, then spent weeks filling out the correct paperwork needed to get the cart across the border.

Two months later, Schulman and his nephew, Kyle Zada, who worked at the cart last summer, drove up to Canada and hauled the cart back.

After redesigning the cart in June, the cart opened on July 3 last year. Schulman estimates he invested $25,000 doing everything from buying the cart to getting it across the border and renovating it.

COURTESY: RANDY SCHULMAN - In 'Wild,' a story by and about Cheryl Strayed (left with Randy Schulman), Schulman plays Reese Witherspoons therapist.Adams works full-time for Dry Soda Co. — its products are also sold at the cart. She has handed over full responsibility of the cart to Schulman. She says they always had a vision for what they wanted the space to feel like.

“We always wanted to create a vibe that invites people just to come hang,” she says.

Victoria Dorsey, a recent St. Mary’s Academy graduate who is one of Schulman’s three part-time employees at the cart, says she loves the job.

“It’s just a really good vibe, and I love that it’s so family-oriented,” Dorsey says, mentioning details like offering kids their choice of spoon color and letting kids watch the gelato being scooped through the the cart’s windowed exterior.

While some customers know Schulman from his on-screen roles, more recognize him from his place in the Sellwood community.

“I think a lot of people know him as Randy who lives down the street,” Dorsey says.

Atlas Scoops is at 8005 S.E. 13th Ave. It is open noon to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and noon to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. The bike cart will be stationed in Westmoreland Park daily from noon to 5 p.m.

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