Asbury Park, get ready for the Chocolate Bar.
It’s a new type of chocolate shop without pretensions or heart-shaped boxes with but customized orders, entertainment and unique packaging. The Asbury Park location is opening by Valentine’s Day on Lake Avenue, at the site of the former home of Chico’s House of Jazz, said owner Alison Nelson of Brick.
“My idea was how do you take something very high end and marry it to the neighbor bakery, the neighborhood coffee shop”, Nelson said. “Where it’s familiar and you get to know people’s names and if you don’t know how to say ‘pate de fruits’ -- I’m from Queens and I always said ‘pate de fruits’ -- if you don’t know that, that’s not intimidating.”
Nelson opened her first Chocolate Bar on New York City’s West Side in 2002 and it’s a hit, having won multiple awards, including notice as “one of the Five Best Chocolate stores in New York” from About.com in 2015. Celebs such as Sarah Jessica Parker, Scarlett Johanson, Jake Gyllenhal and Leonardo DiCaprio are fans and there are now Chocolate Bars around the world, including Australia, Dubai, Qatar, Pakistan and Manasquan. A location in Beach Haven was open from 2006 to 2010.
“We really wanted to work with the people in Asbury because there’s so much creative energy here,” Nelson said. “We want to be able to say (to area artists) here’s a list, do you have a favorite and would you be interested in having your own designed bar?”
Nelson intends to work with Asbury Park artists for labeling designs on chocolate bars and the results will go toward arts education for inner city kids, she said.
“It’s a place that you come to have something familiar, made new and it’s made new how you want it made,” Nelson said. “You can have either a spicy brownie or a classic brownie. We’re going to have stage set up and we’re going to do gallery shows -- chocolate is something 99 percent of people enjoy and we’re going to use that vehicle to also bring in people’s other passions.”
The Chocolate Bar offers “cereal killers” bars for $7; an eight-piece truffle box for $12; a brownie box for $19; communion boy and girl chocolate lollipops for $4 and much more. Upcoming is airbrushed chocolates, which will make there debut at the Asbury Park location.
Also, for Valentine’s Day, there will be “Booty Boxes” and “Break-Up Boxes.”
“Mostly they’re for singles,” said Nelson of Break-Up Boxes. “Valentine’s Day, if you’re not with someone, I remember being miserable. I’m out there with my friends like, let’s get drunk and buy ourselves chocolate.”
Visit www.chocolatebarnyc.com for more information.
Chris Jordan: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chocolate bars from the Chocolate Bar. (Photo: Workhouse PR)