For years now, French Broad Chocolate Lounge has been providing hungry Ashevillian sweet tooths with decadent and delicious treats. Easily one of Asheville’s best dessert spots- we have been excited to watch French Broad Chocolates expand into both a bigger location and their very own chocolate factory in the South Slope! Now, thanks to the love shown by both the local Asheville community as well as chocolate-savvy visitors, French Broad Chocolates is having the opportunity to introduce even more growth and changes!
We could not be more proud and excited for our friends over at French Broad and we can’t wait to see what else is in store! Below is their expansion announcement and details for future plans. We’ll see you there fellow Asheville chocolate lovers!
To our friends, family & community,
Over the past ten years, our company has grown from a two-person, literal mom & pop business to a multifaceted, award-winning chocolate operation that employs over 80 people in our community. We could not be more excited to double down on Asheville, and dig deeper roots here in French Broad Chocolates’ home city. Asheville, we love you, and can’t wait to share our collective story with other communities, through more and better chocolate.
BIG love to all who have supported our efforts over the past decade. We thank you for this opportunity, and will do everything we can to bring more goodness to our community.
We’re excited to announce the next step in our journey. Read on for the details!
Starting this fall, visitors to our downtown dessert destination who want to enjoy a full-service experience will be seated in our ample dining room. The Chocolate Lounge is adding table service! Guests will still have the option to place to-go orders at the counter. The boutique next door will remain a favorite local insiders’ tip, where it’s easy to dip in for an ice cream cone, box of truffles, cappuccino, or gift from our Chocolate Bar Library.
Brett Sullivan, our General Manager at the Chocolate Lounge said “We love our locals – we couldn’t have gotten here without them. With the transition to table service, we are looking forward to making our guests’ experience even sweeter and returning to our roots as a community gathering place.”
RAMPing Up Production
“With the enthusiastic support of chocolate lovers near and far, we have a unique opportunity to scale our chocolate production to make more chocolate, at an ever-higher quality. We are proud to be Asheville’s chocolate makers!” says our co-founder Dan Rattigan.
In the spring, our Chocolate Factory will be relocating to a 12,000 square foot facility in the River Arts Makers Place RAMP Studios (close to Ginger’s Revenge and Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff) along our namesake, the French Broad River. This will enable an immediate increase in production from 18 tons annually to 50 tons annually, and expand the educational component of our mission with a classroom and enhanced tour program. The new factory will also contain an immersive retail experience, offering coffee, chocolate, and our handcrafted ice cream.
“From the South Slope to the River Arts District we have been blessed to grow with our small mountain town. This expansion will contribute more jobs for the Asheville community and increase our level of education and interaction with the public. In turn, the farmers we source our beans from will directly benefit from the increase in exportation of beans to the factory. It’s been an amazing gig to create chocolate and bring smiles to folks’ faces, but it means everything to us to see the impact of our sourcing and bean-to-bar process on the lives of our small farmers around the world,” says our Lead Chocolate Maker Evan Ackerman.
I Scream, You Scream
In the summer, we will relocate our creamery (currently operating inside of our Pastry Kitchen at the Chocolate Lounge) to our South Slope facility at 21 Buxton Ave. Simply put, this will allow us to handcraft A. LOT. MORE. ICE. CREAM. Were tripling production. We’ll also be giving the retail space a makeover to accommodate an ice cream and dessert café with seating where guests can enjoy beer floats in a family-friendly location in the heart of Asheville’s craft brewery scene.
“We LOVE being part of the South Slope community, and are excited to bring ice cream, chocolate, coffee, beer and baked goods to this thriving neighborhood!” says our co-founder, Jael Rattigan, who serves on the board of the South Slope Neighborhood Association.
Amplifying Our Impact
French Broad Chocolates embraces a “triple bottom line” business model which equally weighs people, planet and profits as measures of success. Through our intentional sourcing and business practices, we work hard to make a positive impact on our communities, both globally and at home here in Asheville.
As we Increase chocolate production, we will be able to directly-source (and pay well-above commodity prices for) a lot more cacao from our farmers in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Peru and Brazil, whose values align with ours.
More chocolate means more truffles and caramels, which means sourcing even more fresh, local ingredients from our farmer friends. When we expand our ice cream production, we will be able to purchase a lot more local, grass-fed dairy from Farm to Home Milk.
We are so excited to see the effects of the expansion rippling throughout our community as they amplify our environmental and economic impact. From offering more and better jobs to our talented family of employees, to continuing to support awesome local businesses like Danny’s Dumpsters, who compost all of our food scraps and to-go ware, we remain as committed as ever to our manifesto and the B-Corp mission of “people using business as a force for good”. We are currently in the final stages of assessment to become a certified B Corp, and are a three star Certified Green Restaurant through the Green Restaurant Association.
Our co-founder, Jael Rattigan offers, “We want to make you proud, Asheville. We are humbled and honored to be a prominent part of the cultural landscape here in our hometown, and we will continue to work hard, do our best, and live by the values of the Asheville community.”
And proud they have made us indeed!! Are you interested in more inside scoops into the Asheville culinary scene and French Broad Chocolate Lounge??… Join us on our downtown food tours where we explore many of Asheville’s best restaurants and learn all about our foodie mecca along the way! Visit our website at www.eatingasheville.com for more information!