When City Bakery closed in October of last year, two palpable fears coursed through the minds of New Yorkers. Would we ever be able to try their famed decadent hot chocolate again? And what of that perfectly-chewy pretzel croissant?
The chance to be reunited with their pretzel croissants remains on the back-burner (you can still get versions at La Colombe), but, a beacon of hope has emerged when it comes to founder Maury Rubin’s hot chocolate. Rubin has a new business venture, The Wonderbon Chocolate Co., a hot chocolate shop opening in Greenwich Village this weekend, Saturday, February 1st. It has a three-month-long lease, with hopes to continue on.
After battle cries sounded off in New York at the closure of the Union Square fixture, Rubin began to take versions of his hot chocolate recipe on-the-go with a somewhat-secret pop-up series called "Me and My Hot Chocolate" (which sounded a bit like an Eat Pray Love-like novel about a lost chocolatier on the path for redemption), wherein he brought his skills of chocolate drink making to Morgenstern’s, Zabar’s and the new Essex Market.
At The Wonderbon Chocolate Co., he’s partnered with Alex Atzberger, who was a longtime City Bakery customer. Every day of February, a new experimental hot chocolate flavor will premiere, with versions made with espresso and espresso salted cream, white chocolate and fig jam and miso white chocolate with shiso powder. Though the City Bakery hot chocolate was known for its gooey marshmallows, Wonderbon's hot chocolate will be topped with whipped creams (available flavors include coconut, honey, smoked salt and more). It remains to be seen if Rubin's new, wackier versions will have what it takes to maintain their legacy as the city's best cup 'o cocoa.
Wonderbon Chocolate Co. will host a happy hour on weekdays, from 5-7 PM, with boozy hot cocoa spiked with hard liquor such as mezcal. And, yes, vegan versions of hot chocolate are available with soy, oat and coconut milks.
In addition, there will be hot chocolate pudding (served chilled), a ricotta tartine with fig balsamic and banana pudding with chocolate shortbread. Looking ahead, the team has plans to expand to create pre-package hot chocolate offerings.
The Wonderbon Chocolate Co. is located at 257 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014.