Photos by Niru Vellanki, Words by Jess Carlson
A couple months ago, my roommate and I were walking around Faneuil Hall after dinner in the North End when we noticed that yet another business was coming to the popular tourist spot. As we got closer, I got so excited when I saw that Ghirardelli was opening a two story chocolate shop and café. Having visited their location in Orlando a couple years back, I was ecstatic for it to open and I jumped at the chance to visit when it eventually did last week.
I ventured downtown on a particularly cold Friday Night; it was the beginning of the polar vortex, and by the time I got to the storefront, I was chilled to the bone. However, once I stepped inside, I couldn’t help but forget the chill because I was suddenly transferred into a 1950s soda shop complete with gleaming granite countertops and employees decked out in aprons and those fun soda shop hats. What makes the entrance even better is there is an employee standing right by the door to offer you a free piece of chocolate right when you walk in.
The store is split between the actual chocolate shop and the counter where employees craft drinks and sundaes with seating on the second floor. In the chocolate shop, you can explore bins full of different flavored chocolates and gifts to create the perfect assortment to take home. However, what I came for was what the café had to offer, so that’s where I headed. There are menus at the register and placed throughout the store, which showcases the different sundaes and beverages they offer. It is a little daunting at first to make a decision because everything looks amazing. Since it was a blustery cold night out, I opted for the classic hot chocolate topped with homemade whipped cream. Once you order, you can go find a seat upstairs and they will bring your order right up to you.
On the steps up to the second floor there is a huge mural of the original San Francisco location and a giant Ghirardelli sign made up of old fashioned light bulbs that give the atmosphere a nostalgic flair. As we found our seat, I noticed myself ogling the other delicacies nearby guests were indulging in. From milkshakes to extravagant sundaes, I wondered if I made the wrong choice. However, once I received my drink, I knew I had made the right decision. It came hot and overflowing with whipped cream, just the way I love my hot chocolate. The homemade whipped cream was so rich and creamy, that I couldn’t even reach the chocolate at first. Sweet and fresh, it complemented the richness of the chocolate and melted to create the best cup of hot chocolate I’ve had in a while. This is the perfect drink to come and get after a long day of holiday shopping or just walking around downtown seeing all the holiday decorations.
If hot chocolate isn’t your thing, there is an expansive ice cream and sundae menu that looks equally amazing. The sundaes are on the pricier side, but they are the perfect size to share with someone else. From the menu, I’d recommend the Treasure Island, which is a warm brownie sundae that comes with a homemade double chocolate brownie. If you’re with a group or just really hungry, the Earthquake consists of eight scoops of ice cream, eight toppings, bananas, whipped cream, nuts and a cherry on top! For the warmer months, I’d urge you to try the Frozen Cocoa which consists of their famous hot chocolate and ice cream blended together to create this frozen concoction.
So next time you’re downtown or just looking for a decadent treat, stop by the Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop in Faneuil Hall Plaza! To learn more and scope out the menu, you can visit their website here.
6 North Market in Faneuil Hall
Open Sunday-Thursday 10am-10pm, Friday & Saturday 10am-11pm