Woodridge is about to get sweeter

By Stephanie Liotta Atkinson

Woodridge is about to get sweeter.

In May 2011, two storefront properties in the Woodridge Main Street (2026 and 2028 Rhode Island Avenue NE) were purchased by an entity called “DC’s Chocolate Bar and Bakery LLC.”  The owners of the Chocolate Bar, it turns out, are two long-time Woodridge denizens, Dr. and Mrs. Larry and Tahiti McNair.  (If the name sounds familiar, Dr. McNair has a successful dentistry practice on Hamlin.)

In the 2026 RIA retail space Mrs. McNair will open a storefront for her existing organic soaps and skincare products business called Tahitian Treats.  With a BS in Biology and Chemistry, Mrs. McNair personally crafts her own line of hypoallergenic offerings for those with sensitive skin.  Tahitian Treats has been operating online for quite some time, and the Woodridge storefront will be the brick and mortar evolution of an already successful enterprise.  In addition to organic body products, Tahitian Treats will offer seated massage.

Next door in 2028 RIA, the McNairs are planning a veritable Wonkaland for Ward 5’s chocolate lovers.  DC’s Chocolate Bar and Bakery will feature organic chocolates, baked products (including cupcakes and breads), ice cream, smoothies, coffee, and light meals.  At least at the moment, the McNair’s have no plans to serve liquor on the premises (although some of their chocolate products will feature liquors).

Last night I got a peep at the Chocolate Bar’s spectacular design plans.  The McNairs are awaiting a permit to bump out the storefront windows, where they will ultimately install window-facing counter seating.  An entire side wall of the cafe will feature a countertop with stools (think 1950’s malt shop), behind which ice cream and shakes will be served up.  With additional tables, the Chocolate Bar will seat 35.  The McNairs are focused on creating a family-oriented environment suitable for kids and adults.  The tentative hours are 6:30am-9pm.  With the addition of free WiFi, Woodridge residents might actually have our very own place to have a cup of coffee, read the paper, check email, and hang out.  Imagine that?

We can anticipate a grand opening in June.


Edit: the above post is edited to reflect the notion (addressed in the comments) that family-friendly does not preclude serving alcohol. I agree that an establishment can do both, and Argonaut is a perfect example.

15 thoughts on “Woodridge is about to get sweeter

  1. OMG. I will have a hard time keeping my husband out of this place. Chocolate? On RIA? Talk about #GoodWard5News!!!

  2. This is good news. The other article was a false alarm that warned us about supporting small businesses on RIA or else meet the fate of Cap City Diner. As long as these new and existing businesses offer good service and good quality food, the people will come. AFAIK, the dental office on Hamlin Street has a good reputation and they keep the area in front of the dental office clean. Will there be any outdoor seating? So far, only Rita’s offers a bench or two to enjoy treats outdoors.

  3. Excellent news! I can’t wait to support these places. The chocolate bar and bakery especially will be a great addition to the neighborhood.

  4. Great news! Here’s hoping the service and product quality exceed that of Cafe Sureia in Brookland. As an aside, Dr. McNair is a very smart man. Chocolate AND dentistry!? How very thoughtful 🙂

  5. This sounds great! Very cute concept and hopefully it will become a great asset to the community.

    As an aside, I have to take issue with places being labeled “family-friendly” only if they don’t serve alcohol. A restaurant/shop can be both family-friendly AND serve alcohol. One would be delusional to say that places like Mr. Henry’s on Penn SE (which has a family night each Tuesday) and the Argonaut (which has stroller parking with available locks and an extensive kid’s menu) are unfriendly to families, while still serving alcohol (these are just two examples that came off the top of my head). Looking at national chains, many market themselves as family-friendly while still providing alcohol service. Families are comprised of children AND adults, and, in the appropriate environment, a family-friendly restaurant can meet the desires of the ADULT members of the family (and the rest of the community) for the occasional drink. Do I think that this candy shop/bakery needs alcohol service? No, it doesn’t seem like the type of place I would go for a drink, and alcohol doesn’t seem to fit the concept *right now* (although I have had my fair share of chocolate beers and liquors in my life, and those things are fantastic). However, I would welcome both “family-friendly” eateries that choose to serve alcohol (it’s good for their bottom line and provides a service that I, and many of my neighbors, would partake in), and more adult-oriented establishments with fancier menus/atmosphere and drink selections that don’t necessarily appeal to the kiddos. Let’s not let the “Adams Morgan” monster dominate this conversation. It’s fine to be wary of places that want permits for outdoor seating and live entertainment until the wee hours, right in the middle of a community setting; it’s wholly different to equate any place – regardless of hours, concept, or quality – that serves alcohol with a nuisance to the community.

    1. I whole heartedly agree with what you say, Ms. D! And on that note, I wouldn’t mind a coffee and wine bar combo. There was a cool one outside of Old Town Alexandria that had art on the wall and all kinds of games for adults and toys for kids. It was a nice place to sit down and read, eat, chat, play games. I could see something like that doing very well here. Family-friendly can be alcohol friendly too!

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