A new 12 seat chocolate, ice cream, and espresso shop has just arrived at 1007 Main Street, just north of Terminal. The 1,000 sqft space (formerly The Safari Cafe) is directly across the street from Campagnolo and Bodega. It’s called Lisa Lou’s Chocolate Bar, and it’s open from 7:30am to 10pm Monday to Saturday and 10am to 10pm on Sundays.
Lisa Lou’s – named after imaginative, talented proprietor Lisa Gardin – is a cool little spot with a fun brand personality. It’s entering an especially competitive specialty market where quality counts and experience helps, so it’s a good thing Lisa has loads of both. She’s been the bakery team leader at Whole Foods in Park Royal for the past five years. Previous to that she was at Chocolate Arts for four years and toiling in chocolate shops in Tokyo and Dubai. At the start of her career some 15 years ago, Lisa apprenticed under the great Thomas Haas, back when he was at Senses in the Metropolitan Hotel. She’s also fully trained up as a barista (beans are from False Creek Coffee). She has game in spades.
The products are all small batch and made in-house, everything from brittles, confections, and lemon squares to ice creams, cheesecakes, and a line of signature chocolate bars, all of which are named after whimsical archetypal characters imagined by Lisa. She’s starting with four characters (Frank, Marc, Pete, Joe) and expanding them to twenty in the Fall. I didn’t try any of her “boys”, but I’m still thinking about the salted caramel ice cream waffle sandwich that I snuck away with after my walk-through of the space last week. Good stuff!
The concept is interesting in that it’s somewhat seasonal, focusing on handmade ice creams and sorbets in the Spring and Summer and on chocolates during the Fall and Winter (I’m assuming, however, that we’ll always be seeing both but in varying degrees of prominence and supply). The space is also an incubator of sorts, as Lisa has opened her chocolate up to garagiste small batch chocolatiers like Karmei and Art Meets Chocolate, giving them the tools and the roof required to produce.
We wish them the best of luck. They’ve only just opened, so get in there early and indulge!