Li-Lac Chocolates is Manhattan's oldest chocolate house - a New York tradition since 1923.
We make old-world artisan chocolate in small batches using original recipes, time-honored techniques, and quality ingredients. Our selection of fresh chocolate - more than 140 items - is one of the largest selections of fresh gourmet chocolate in America. Every delicious item is made by hand, locally in New York City, and guaranteed for freshness.
The history of Li-Lac Chocolates dates back to 1923 when George Demetrious, a native of Greece who studied the art of chocolate making in France, emigrated to NYC and opened his shop at 120 Christopher Street in the heart of Greenwich Village. During the 1920's, Greenwich Village was a destination for artists, intellectuals and innovators. It was in this context that Mr. Demetrious applied his chocolate-making expertise, creating and perfecting his recipes for such items as Butter Crunch, Hazelnut Truffle Squares, Mint Cream Patties, and other favorites; steadily building a customer following among his quirky and demanding neighbors. Over the ensuing 9 decades, Li-Lac became a New York favorite. When trendy ingredients and mass production emerged as the model for the modern chocolatier, Li-Lac remained true to its history and tradition, eschewing automation and trendiness. Deemed "stubbornly old fashioned" by the Wall Street Journal, Li-Lac Chocolates is one of the few old-school chocolate companies to survive into the modern era.
Mr. Demetrious used large marble-top tables and copper kettles to perfect his recipes for Dark Chocolate Almond Bark, Marzipan Rolls, Maple Walnut Fudge, Caramel Squares, and more. He employed a staff of dippers and packers who contributed their own specialized care and attention to detail still found in every Li-Lac Chocolate made today. When Demetrious passed away in 1972, he entrusted his recipes and beloved company to Marguerite Walt, his devoted employee of 25 years. Marguerite carried on Demetrious' high standards for chocolate making until she retired, selling the business to Edward Bond in 1978.
"Edward Bond," Marguerite would often say, "is the quintessential Southern gentleman." On many occasions, she told him that she wouldn't sell the company to just anyone: "Whoever comes in here after me, will be seeing to it that quality, caring, and commitment still count." Bond was her man, a Mississippi native, who had relocated to New York City, and a regular patron who purchased dessert items from Li-Lac for his catering business. Whenever he visited the store, he allowed other customers to be served first so he could stay behind and visit with Marguerite. During the years, they became good friends and she was convinced Ed was the individual who best understood the importance of quality and respect for the Li-Lac tradition. Marguerite offered to sell him the business, and it wasn't too long after that Bond became the third owner of Li-Lac Chocolates.
While upholding the company's tradition, Ed expanded the business and introduced a few items of his own, including Mr. Bond's Special Pralines. He also acquired a large selection of chocolate specialty molds and designed Li-Lac's first signature floral packaging. Loyal to both Demetrious and Marguerite, Ed kept in his employ all of the devoted staff who had been working at Li-Lac since Mr. Demetrious owned the shop. In 1981, Ed's sister, Martha, joined him in the chocolate-making business. For Martha, "It was love at first sight!". She quickly learned the old master's recipes, perfected his techniques, assisted customers, and helped Ed with the day-to-day operations. Together, Martha and Ed developed additional recipes - most notably the Specialty Truffles that are a best-selling item still today. Martha's efforts were recognized in 1996, when her recipe won an award for the "Best Raspberry Truffle in the Tri-State Area." With their dual leadership, Li-Lac Chocolates continued to grow but never at the expense of freshness or quality.
After Ed's death in 1990, Martha Bond inherited the stewardship of Li-Lac Chocolates, nurturing the business and maintaining the same single-minded focus on product quality as Demetrious, Marguerite, and Ed. In 1999, she opened a second location in the Grand Central Market, bringing Li-Lac Chocolates into the world's busiest train station. When rent became too high in 2005 to continue at the Christopher Street location, she had to make the most heart-wrenching decision in Li-Lac's history. After eight decades, the iconic store was forced to relocate a few blocks north, while the production facility moved to Brooklyn. The move was difficult for everyone, but especially sad was moving away from P.S. 3 and St. Luke's Parish, who represented three generations of loyal Li-Lac customers. Our hearts continue to be touched by customers who tell us of their fond memories of stopping by Li-Lac Chocolates on their way home from school! In 2009, Martha retired to Mississippi to be with her beloved grandchildren.
Today, Li-Lac Chocolates is in the hands of two long-time customers Anthony Cirone and Christopher Taylor - residents of the West Village and patrons of Li-Lac Chocolates since the early 1990s. Anwar Khoder, Li-Lac's Master Chocolate, joined the company in 1989 and is a co-owner. Together this trio represents the fourth generation of Li-Lac owners. As their predecessors, they are committed to making Li-Lac Chocolates the best chocolate company in New York. Their selection of fresh artisan chocolate and chocolate gift boxes stand out from the many generic items most people usually receive as gifts. In 2014, the company took steps to relocate its factory to a new space in Brooklyn's Industry City where customers can see Li-Lac's chocolate-making process in action, through the windows. "The best way to tell our story is when people see how we make our chocolate," says Anwar Khoder. "Making fresh chocolate by hand in New York City can be rather inefficient and expensive, but when people see what we do and how we do it, they instantly grasp the benefit". The new factory is expected to be open to the public later this summer, and we hope you get a chance to stop by, see our story, and sample the results.
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