Sunday, May 20, 2007

Shifting Alliances: NYC Chocolate Bar Moves to Midtown and the Middle East

On Monday, May 21, New York's five-year-old Chocolate Bar officially opens the doors to its newest outpost, at upper-echelon Midtown department store Henri Bendel.

The orange-and-brown-motif Chocolate Bar now has a handful of locations in Manhattan and on Long Beach Island in New Jersey. More a cafe than a boutique, the Bendel's branch offers seventy-percent-cacao chocolate on toast and a green salad with chocolate shavings, in addition to an array of desserts. But the newly-minted menus don't specify who provides the crucial supply of bon bons. In the early days of the Chocolate Bar, when the business consisted of one shop in the West Village, the candy counter relied on deliveries from Jacques Torres, who had just recently opened his factory in Brooklyn. But as Torres expertly rolled out his own expansion plans and switched his focus from wholesale to retail, the Chocolate Bar replaced the Torres merchandise with bon bons made by Andrew Shotts of Garrison Confections. The substitution did anything but shortchange the customer--more than a few people in the know tag Shotts as the best chocolatier in the country. But the last time I took the five minute walk from my apartment to Chocolate Bar's home base on Eighth Avenue, I was surprised to find a nearly empty display case. The chipper shop attendant explained that the management had gotten into an altercation with Shotts, who's known to be testy.

Even if the Chocolate Bar and Garrison Confections reconcile their differences, I can't see Andrew Shotts coming along on owner Alison Nelson's next venture--a carefully orchestrated unveiling of up to thirty Chocolate Bar franchises in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, and surrounds. With its transformation from neighborhood shop to global brand (officially "Alison Nelson's Chocolate Bar"), the Chocolate Bar more and more resembles another chocolate trader in the Middle East--Israel-based Max Brenner.

2 Comments:

Blogger Adam said...

CHOCOLATE BAR MOVES FROM WEST TO EAST VILLAGE. NEW ADDRESS. CHECK IT OUT:

Chocolate Bar East Village: 127 East 7th Street, between 1st & Ave A
www.chocolatebarnyc.com, 212. 366. 1541, info@chocolatebarnyc.com
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Alison Nelson’s Chocolate Bar at Henri Bendel
712 Fifth Avenue, 3rd Floor Atrium
At 55th Street

4:30 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CHOCOLATE BAR OPENS NEW WEST VILLAGE LOCATION ON 28 APRIL 2009
Alison Nelson reopens her West Village location just steps away from her pioneering original
Chocolate Bar: 19 Eighth Avenue between 12th Street & Jane, NYC (West Village)
www.chocolatebarnyc.com/ info@chocolatebarnyc.com

1:58 PM GMT-5  

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