Walk into Ghirardelli’s new Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop, located in The Wrigley Building in Chicago, you’ll be met with two stories of chocolate-y goodness.
Ghirardelli’s 26th store, which has its soft opening last weekend, is the chocolate company’s — covering 7,300 square feet, and featuring indoor seating for 95 including a community table, as well as a beautiful outdoor patio for 25 people.
Adorned with two indoor custom vintage Ghirardelli light bulb marquees, The Wrigley Building location combines the popular Ice Cream Shop with an expanded retail store selling unique products and gifts.
“We’re thrilled to open our second Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate shop in Chicago,” says Marty Thompson, ceo, Ghirardelli Chocolate Co. “We are all about providing our guests with unforgettable experiences where they can gather with friends and family and create lasting memories, and our new shop in The Wrigley Building is perfectly positioned to deliver on that.”
On the lower level, guests can purchase gift bags and packaged squares, or head to the counter to order ice cream treats, such as the World Famous Hot Fudge Sundae, topped with freshly made hot fudge, whipped cream, and chopped almonds.
There’s also banana splits and strawberry hot fudge sundaes, floats, smoothies, hot chocolate, and a Quake Shake — a milkshake with an entire chocolate bar melted into it.
Plus, in honor of the opening, The Wrigley Building shop will feature a special Chicago-themed sundae for the month of July. The special sundae is made with chocolate chip ice cream, freshly made Ghirardelli Hot Fudge and a full Ghirardelli Colossal Cookie, all topped with whipped cream, caramel and a cherry.
Upstairs, guests can pick up their orders or peruse a pick-and-mix station, which allows visitors to create a unique combination of chocolate squares for $9.95/lb. or in a fill-to-the-brim container of their choosing.
There are 14 flavors available to mix, and only one other store has a station like the one at The Wrigley Building.
Another must-see is the chocolate-covered nut station, where guests can create a personalized mix of their favorite chocolate-covered nuts and fruit, like dark chocolate-covered almonds and milk chocolate-covered cherries.
The setup has been a big hit with guests in the past.
For those customers looking for an up-close look at chocolate making, the shop has a chocolate-covering station — the second store to have one — which includes a chocolatier who makes chocolate-covered strawberries and chocolate slabs as guests look on.
And, a giant vat of hot fudge — made fresh daily — is visible behind the counter, creating a heavenly scent of chocolate throughout the entire store.
“You can smell the chocolate, see the chocolate, hear the chocolate,” says Kym Hough, director of marketing and restaurant & retail division, Ghirardelli Chocolate Co. “You really experience the chocolate.”
The seating also offers an experience. Guests can chose to order to-go, sit outside in the downstairs patio area, grab a seat that looks out on the Chicago River, or sit at a community table.
“We’re all about families,” explains Hough, adding that some people have been coming to Ghirardelli stores since they were children, and still celebrate at Ghirardelli locations today. “We’re very much about creating a moment.”
One other feature is a selfie wall, located towards the back near the view of the Chicago River. Visitors are encouraged take pictures and share them on social media.
Future endeavors are also in the making. Ghirardelli is exploring the possibility of classes and events, such as a girl’s night out for chocolate fans to indulge with friends. The chocolate maker also has a great partnership with the Shedd Aquarium, and may reach out to other museums in the area.
The official grand opening will July 22nd, and Thompson will be on site for the ribbon cutting.
The new Ghirardelli shop is on the first and second floor of The Wrigley Building, 400 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago. It’s hours are Sunday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Friday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m..
The other Chicago shop is located at 830 North Michigan Ave. A full list of all the company’s retail stores can be found on the Ghiradelli website.