Dining With Denise Neil

West Wichita now has its own ‘chocolate lounge’ – with wine

West Wichita likes its wine and martinis.

That’s one of the many lessons that Amber Travis and her colleagues at the new Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates in NewMarket Square have learned since Friday, which was opening day for their second Wichita store.

The new shop, which has taken over space in the shopping center at 21st and Maize that was formerly occupied by Sports Time Fan Shop, had a stellar opening weekend, said Travis, who is Cocoa Dolce’s director of operations. Cocoa Dolce has had an east-side store at Bradley Fair since 2009, and in addition to selling gourmet chocolates, it has become an upscale spot for people to gather in the “chocolate lounge” for coffee, wine, martinis, wine slushies, pastries and gelato.

So far, she said, west-siders are really into the lounging.

“It’s funny to see the difference between each store,” she said. “During the first few days, our alcohol sales are doing really well out there. It looks like the west-siders know how to have a good time.”

The new shop is almost double the size of the east-side store, Travis said, meaning people have plenty of room to browse the shelves and hang out to enjoy their treats on-site. The NewMarket store is opening an hour earlier than the east-side store does – at 8 a.m. – and the owners are trying to lure a breakfast crowd by offering $1 off nonalcoholic drinks from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Mondays through Saturdays. Cocoa Dolce has a full espresso bar and serves morning pastries like scones and pumpkin loaf.

They’re still waiting on some furniture and plan to have a grand opening after the first of the year, Travis said. Hours at the new shop are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays.

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