Bleecker Street, between Sullivan and Thompson, was chock-full of chocoholics on Saturday, October 3 for the grand opening of Li-Lac Chocolates’ new Village flagship store.
One would have thought it was the latest iPhone or Nike sneaker launch, judging by the size of the line stretching outside the place.
The new location, at 162 Bleecker Street, is the second in the Village for Li-Lac, which also has a shop at 40 Eighth Avenue, at Jane Street.
Manhattan’s oldest chocolate house, Li-Lac dates back to 1923, when George Demetrious, a Greek immigrant, opened his shop at 120 Christopher Street.
On October 3, chocolate lovers could get a flavor of that time, because Li-Lac was offering 1923 pricing. Every item on the chocolate counter was available at the 1923 price of 23 cents per piece (with a limit of five per customer). In addition, the first 100 customers in line got one-pound boxes of French assortments at the 1923 price of $3.59.
There were balloons and Oompa Loompa characters for kids, plus live music from Gypsy Trane. There was also complimentary chocolate and wine pairing by Chelsea Wine Vault.
In 2005, after rent became too high at the Christopher Street location, Li-Lac — to the dismay of PS 3, the St. Luke in the Fields Church parish, and other neighbors — moved its Village shop to 40 Eighth Avenue and its production to Industry City in Brooklyn. There is also a Grand Central Terminal branch, opened in 1999.
Li-Lac is now owned by Anthony Cirone and Christopher Taylor, a couple who live in the West Village, and their master chocalater, Anwar Khoder, who has been with the company since 1989.
It was just last year that Li-Lac opened its new chocolate factory in Industry City, which boasts oversize windows that allow visitors to watch the chocolate-making in action.
State Senator Brad Hoylman was on hand for the Bleecker Street opening, along with Assemblymember Deborah Glick and Councilmember Corey Johnson, to do the ribbon-cutting.
“It’s always great to support a local Village business,” Hoylman said, “especially one like Li-Lac Chocolates that’s been around since 1923 and gives back to the community by supporting nonprofit organizations, like the New York City Anti-Violence Project and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. I’m excited to see Li-Lac thriving and expanding to their newest location.”