Chocolate Lab: A Savory & Sweet Café by Recchiuti
The inspiration for a café to accompany our Recchiuti Confections retail store in the Ferry Building came to us after publishing our cookbook Chocolate Obsession. The realization that we needed to highlight Michael’s years as a pastry chef by expanding our repertoire, to incorporate chocolate and caramel oriented plated desserts, cookies, fruit breads & cakes, custards, pies & tarts, ice-creams and even hot & cold chocolate drinks that’s a natural segue for us next to our day-to-day truffle making. We also wanted more to offer those much less inclined to sweet-things than our “obsession” with sweets.
Like many others who’ve chosen San Francisco to live, Michael and I love what the city offers. We take pleasure in a temperate climate (perfect for chocolate making), year-round accessibility to locally grown & raised foods, abundant choices of libations, incredible cultural stimuli; in the way of architecture, art & music. The most profound reason Michael and I live in the Bay Area is for its people. We live within a diverse community who share the same passions in life-style. We live in the Shangri-La of the West Coast. This adoration for our city-by-the-bay has lead our desire to share what we enjoy the most in our spare time; relish in fresh simple food … including sweets, a glass of wine with the coterie we can be unabashed with.
The inspiration for a café to accompany our Recchiuti Confections retail store in the Ferry Building came to us after publishing our cookbook Chocolate Obsession. The realization that we needed to highlight Michael’s years as a pastry chef by expanding our repertoire, to incorporate chocolate and caramel oriented plated desserts, cookies, fruit breads & cakes, custards, pies & tarts, ice-creams and even hot & cold chocolate drinks that’s a natural segue for us next to our day to day truffle making. Eventually even establishing a baked goods program for our second retail location, Little Nib, just a stones through away from our beloved Chocolate Lab. We also wanted more to offer to those much less incline to sweet-things than our “obsession” with sweets. We found innovation at Poilâne in the 6th Arrondissement of Paris…Tartines! We never leave Paris without a leisure lunch at their café which resides next to the boulangerie; house-baked bread grilled with local cheeses and topped with a variety of fresh choices; cured meats, farmstead herbs, vegetables & fruits – our menu emulates these savory open-faced sandwiches or tartines. We wanted to bring a little bit of adventure from our travels to our tiny village of Dogpatch in the southeast corner of San Francisco. As homage to our hamlet, we wanted to coalesce the character of this neighborhood with the alchemy of what we do, thus the name Chocolate Lab. It speaks of the laboratory in which we’ll concoct delectable desserts and the tongue-in-cheek nature of the areas namesake.
As with all small communities we in Dogpatch band together in creating camaraderie; we’ve chosen to task our friend, Wayne Garcia, owner of DIG wine shop, guide & recommend offerings for our wine program. The wines we pour are selective; coming from small producers in Europe and lending to the ability to purchase similar wine profiles just around the corner at DIG. Specially selected offerings from the dessert menu are featured at our retail kiosk a few steps from the Chocolate Lab, aptly christened the Little Nib. Local micro-brewer Dave McLean of Magnolia Brewery fame supplies his malted grain brew from the brewpub across the way. Carl Sutton of Sutton Cellars fills your glasses with his wonderfully crafted vermouth. Just up the block our creative team; from Recchiuti brand creators The Engine Room are neighbors in the American Industrial Center to Tom Seawell Photography whose gorgeous photos grace both Recchiuti websites.
In the attempt to keep as much of the Chocolate Lab build out local, we tasked East Bay designer Eric Heid to assemble artisan craftspeople to imbibe a turn of the century apothecary vibe into a contemporary eatery. California grown, fallen elm adorns two walls of the café with an undulating pattern and table tops from Paul Discoe. Original oak flooring was ebonized by Joseph Oberjat. Lighting Sculpture by The Kettle Collective: Hand blown glass by Nate Watson with steel armatures by Luke Damani & Brooke Carlson appoints suspended Edison bulbs. Metal framed dessert bar and server station by metal smith Christopher Whitney of Object Assembly. Fern glazed tiles from Heath Ceramics. Live greenery in gun metal grey metal planters from Flora Grubb. Each bestowing a unique touch to the ambiance of the Chocolate Lab café.
This and much more is the commonwealth of our San Francisco … the hope to beget a familiar place to meet friends or make new ones. Indulge with us in a bit of savory or sweet, some vino or a brew – whatever your predilection we hope to offer you an antidote for what ails you at the Chocolate Lab café.