Lake Avenue cafe and wholesale operations expected to open in 2016
Alison Nelson’s Chocolate Bar, the award-winning candy store for adults, is coming to Asbury Park.
“I am drawn to Asbury, which I believe will be the next great American town,” Nelson said. “The dynamic mix of diversity, concrete culture, surf, music, architecture, and food speaks to me. It’s what we aim to create at Chocolate Bar every day.”
A New York native, Nelson launched Chocolate Bar in 2002 in Manhattan’s downtown, where she cultivated a network with more than 15 restaurants across four markets. Regular patrons include Sarah Jessica Parker, Gwyneth Paltrow, Julia Roberts, Scarlett Johanson, Jake Gyllenhal, Leonardo DiCaprio and Uma Thurman.
Nelson launched Chocolate Bar with an initial investment of $75,000. Two years later, she was named one of Gourmet News Magazine’s influential “20 under 40,” and by 2007 she won Inc Magazine’s award for one of the “Fastest Growing Private Companies in America”. Other accolades include Timeout New York’s “Best Chocolate Store” and Wallpaper Magazine’s “Favorite Stores Around the World” to name a few.
While her first Jersey Shore location in Manasquan opened in 2013 she will move her headquarters to Asbury Park in 2016.
Nestled between the Lakehouse Music Academy, House of Independents and Asbury Festhalle & Beirgarten in the former Chicos House of Jazz building, the Asbury Park Chocolate Bar will be Nelson’s largest undertaking when it opens in 2016.
“Chocolate Bar isn’t traditional,” Nelson, 42, said. “It’s the kind of spot where you can hang out all day and draw in your notebook or bring a crew for chocolate fondue while listening to a rocking soundtrack. We’ll have a rotating cast of characters performing, reading, cooking, and creating at our clubhouse of cacao.”
Chocolate Bar is known for its gourmet Nutella pop tarts, fruity pebble and other cereal killer bars, as well as an assortment of truffles.
A full service café area, boasting a 2,180-square-foot sales floor, is designed with a vintage-modern feel. It includes a theatrical view of the wholesale operations used to service movie theaters, business, corporate gifts, and department store items.
The shop also will have a full bakery, a chocolate kitchen, and gift area with items like Booty Boxes for Valentine’s [Give Some, Get Some] and Break-Up Boxes [equipped with MadLib cards listing the reasons why it ain’t working].
“You will never find a heart shaped box here,” Nelson said.
The retro reconfigured old-school soda bar offers more than 10 kinds of award-winning hot chocolate, signature teas and will host weekly tastings and classes.
A performance stage accommodates cross-promotions with Lakehouse Music Academy, Shoreline Dance Academy [in the Jersey Shore Arts Center], as well as visiting New York artists.
Other highlights include a collaboration with New York City tattoo artists will feature Chocolate Bar designs and the extension of her graffiti bar wrapper collection – currently the 10 flavors’ proceeds help benefit arts education for inner city youth, and the expansion of her popular music collections, which include the Save CBGB’s line.
Nelson also is working with a number of avant-garde book publishers to create a ‘library-like’ bookselling area where reading and signings will be held.
“As a shop we are community driven by nature but I am personally invested here – my children rock out at Lakehouse, dance at Shoreline, and my husband is handling the opening of House of Independents,” Nelson said.
Nelson, husband Adam, and their two children currently split their time between New York and Brick, Aside from the two stores, Chocolate Bar products are featured in over 20 international locations, like Dubai, Australia, and Qatar.
The Chocolate Bar will be located at 631 Lake Avenue. For more information, visit the Chocolate Bar website.
[Photos courtesy of Workhouse PR]
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