A Grandview-area bakery and café is expanding to the Brewery District.
Chocolate Café, which opened 14 years ago at 1855 Northwest Blvd., is taking over the former Dough Mama space at 730 S. High St.
Owner Lisa Boyle said she hopes to open in July.
The space will function mostly as a production kitchen for the Chocolate Café’s wedding cake and brownie businesses. There won’t be dine-in space, but the cafe will offer a scaled-down menu of its signature sandwiches, soups and salads for carryout as well as retail sweets.
“We’ve really expanded our bakery business,” Boyle said. “We did 3,000 hot chocolate bombs last December and that really pushed us to our limit. This is going to give us more room to work.”
She said the business was courted by some ghost kitchens and she looked into more industrial baking sites as well, but when the Dough Mama space became available, that made the most sense.
“The opportunity is never exactly right,” Boyle said. “You’re never rested enough or you’re not rich enough, but when I saw this space I knew we just had to take it. Our employees are excited.”
The proximity to downtown will also benefit the eatery’s corporate carryout business as well so having closer proximity to downtown was an added plus.
Boyle describes Chocolate Café as “like a Panera, but with a lot of cake.” As the name implies, there is a dessert focus, but the cafe also has sandwiches, salads, soups and a daily brunch menu.
That name, she admitted, has been a mixed blessing. For those wanting or craving sweets, it’s a clear sign, but those in the mood for a savory item don’t always realize what the cafe has to offer until they come in.
Boyle hopes to win converts in the new space.
She said the business fared OK during the pandemic. Chocolate Caféhad been using third-party delivery services for several years so it was already primed to push more business through that channel.
As vaccination rates rose Boyle said customers are clearly more comfortable coming out.
“At Valentine’s Day we were busy but people seemed more unsettled,” she said. “This past weekend the restaurant was full and customers seemed fine.”
Chocolate Café also has seen catering work, particularly wedding cakes pick back up.
“It’s really exploded in the past two months,” she said. “It’s events with 50 people rather than 150, but we’re doing more.”
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