BY SHAYE WEAVER | Li-Lac Chocolates is offering a sweet deal for its return to the West Village — handmade treats at 1923 prices.
On Saturday, Oct. 19, the 96-year-old chocolate shop celebrates its grand opening at 75 Greenwich Ave., by selling its beloved chocolate mousse rolls, almond bark, fudge, coconut clusters and pecan chews for 23 cents apiece and giving away free hot chocolate and tasty holiday characters.
The first 100 customers in line will get discounts on both 1 pound of almond bark and Li-Lac’s 16-piece truffle assortment box — each will go for $9.23, instead of $36 and $35, respectively. The discounts run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“The prices call out that we have been in business for 96 years and harkens people back to the era of the 1920s,” said Li-Lac’s co-owner Anthony Cirone.
Using an inflation calculator, Cirone found that if something cost 23 cents in 1923, when the shop first opened, it would be about $3.45 today, which is in the range of what most Li-Lac chocolates cost, he said.
About 300 people lined up down the street four years ago when Li-Lac ran a similar promotion at its Bleecker Street shop, according to Cirone.
Walking into any one of its six shops, visitors are met with playful chocolate sculptures — the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, animals, handbags, high heels, and, depending on the holiday, turkeys, snowmen, Santa Clauses and pumpkins.
The new shop, which sits on Greenwich Avenue near 11th Street, is the company’s return to the West Village after losing its lease on Jane Street about three years ago. It had been a neighborhood staple there for nine decades, so coming back was vital.
“We have such a long, deep history with the residents of the West Village,” Cirone said. “All the time we have customers in their 70s and 80s who say ‘I went to P.S. 3 and as a child, I walked by Li-Lac everyday.’ We feel very connected to the village, so as a brand, we need to retain a presence in the heart of the Village.”
The new shop has one thing the others don’t — space. At 800 square feet, it boasts a hot chocolate bar that serves hot and iced Li-Lac “sipping” chocolate and café mocha and a 14-foot display case that shows off all of the company’s treats.
It is a sort of “flagship” with all of Li-Lac’s available chocolates including the almond bark, butter crunch and hazelnut truffle squares that are still created the same way that its founder George Demetrious made them at the original Christopher Street kitchen in the 1920s, Cirone said.
“When this place became open, it felt like a really great spot for us,” Cirone said. “It’s a bigger store and part of being bigger means that we could bring in the hot chocolate station.”
The New York City institution has other locations at 162 Bleecker St. in Greenwich Village, Grand Central Market at 43rd Street and Lexington Avenue, Chelsea Market at 75 Ninth Ave., its Brooklyn factory/store at 68 35th St. and at the new Hudson Yards.