“The space is GORGEOUS! Crazy high ceilings! Huge fir beams. Skylights. Industrial gorgeousness…An open production space so people can SEE what we’re doing. Classes and collaborations…A new Thai Peanut Butter Cup BAR (like the cups in bar form!!!)”
Thus began a series of emails with Alma Chocolate’s Sarah Hart. And who can blame the sweets maker for being excited about her new space at 626 SE Main St? After 10 years, Northeast 28th Avenue’s ingenious little shop of chocolate and bonbons (and home of the beloved Thai Peanut Butter Cup) is ready to expand its reach.
In mid-June, a second Alma Chocolate will open inside Portland’s next food complex, the Weatherly Creamery Building. At her side: co-owner/daughter/front woman Hannah Sullivan. As Eat Beat first reported, the 10,000-square-foot building at Southeast 7th and Main already houses Ancient Heritage Dairy’s urban creamery. Coming soon —well, maybe soon—Renata, an ambitious rustic Italian restaurant that seems perpetually stuck in delay hell.
According to Hart, the businesses occupying the new spaces aim to work independently, but in tandem. In Alma’s corner, an open floor plan will house a chocolate workshop/R&D lab in the back and a retail counter in the front. A separate joint retail space will rise around the corner, showcasing finds from Ancient Heritage, Renata’s pantry, and Alma. At night, the place will morph into a space for long-table dinners and collaborations. “Expect a lot of collaboration with Ancient Heritage Dairy,” says Hart. “Their cheese and our chocolate, caramel, and toffee works beautifully together.”
Mostly, Hart sees the new workshop space as a way to ignite new Alma concepts. Already, the shop has imagined the world’s best peanut butter cups, some truly special chocolate barks, and a fantastically baroque Sea Salt Hazelnut Crunch Bar that screams Oregon. In the works: a Thai Peanut Butter Cup Bar and a Spella Mocha Almond Nibby Bar, featuring coffee from talented Portland roaster Andre Spella.
Let the feasting begin.