Li-Lac Chocolates is Manhattan's oldest chocolate house and a Greenwich Village icon since 1923. For the past 90 years, Li-Lac has continued to make old-world chocolates in small batches using time-honored techniques, original recipes, and the finest ingredients.
Every delicious item is hand-made, locally in New York City, and guaranteed for freshness. All the signature recipes used today were created by Li-Lac's founder, George Demetrious, in the 1920s. His recipes, production methods, and chocolate-loving spirit have been passed down through four generations.
Demetrious, a native of Greece, learned the art of chocolate making in France. In 1923, he immigrated to New York and opened his shop at 120 Christopher Street in the heart of Greenwich Village where he applied his chocolate-making expertise. Using large marble-top tables and copper kettles, Demetrious perfected his recipes for such confections as: Hazelnut Truffle Squares, Fudge, Creams, Caramels, Butter Crunch, and many other American favorites. 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 personal recipes and beloved company to Marguerite Walt, his devoted employee of over 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. He also acquired a large selection of specialty molds and designed Li-Lac's signature flowered 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 more recipes that are still used today - especially the eight Chocolate Cream Truffles that fill Li-Lac's Truffle Gift Boxes. 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 grew rapidly 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 growing business and maintaining the same single-minded focus on product quality as Demetrious, Marguerite, and Ed had fostered. In 1999, she opened a second location in the Grand Central Market, bringing Manhattan's oldest chocolate company to the world's busiest train station - it was a "match made in heaven!" And while many traditional chocolate companies around the country struggled, Li-Lac Chocolates continued to thrive thanks to its loyal customer base and uncompromising commitment to "stubbornly old-fashioned" goodness. In 2009, Martha retired to Mississippi to be with her beloved grandchildren.
When rent became too high in 2004 to continue at the Christopher Street location, Li-Lac Chocolates had to make its most heart-wrenching decision in its history. After eight decades, the iconic store was forced to move a few blocks north to Jane Street, while the production facility went to Brooklyn. The move was difficult for everyone but especially sad was moving away from the school children of P.S. 3 and St. Luke's Parish. But 8 years later, we are happy to say that our hearts continue to be touched by present and former customers from around the globe who tell us they have fond memories of eating Li-Lac Chocolates, and, in particular, the Kiddie Pops, as they walked home from school!
Anwar Khoder, Li-Lac's Master Chocolatier since 1989, together with long-time customers Anthony Cirone and Christopher Taylor, are now the fourth generation of Li-Lac Chocolates owners. And, as their predecessors, they are committed to upholding the same fine recipes and old-world production standards established by the original founder, George Demetrious, in 1923. For them: "Li-Lac Chocolates is not just a business, but an integral part of the Greenwich Village history and the community. We are so very proud to continue to create the best-tasting chocolate in the world, and are proud to be able to uphold the customs and traditions of those who came before us."
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