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Above: Romeo Chocolates’ new wine and chocolate tasting room. Courtesy of Romeo Chocolates. Below: the new interior of Lasher’s Belmont Shore location. Photo courtesy of Lasher’s.
An avid traveler and student, the Beligum-trained chocolatier Romeo Garcia brings home distinct flavors (like his Special Dark 70% El Salvador with roasted almonds bonbon) and techniques to combine into his chocolates—and the man’s long-lived dream of opening a brick-and-mortar dedicated to the ultimate sweet treat is now a reality as he opens tomorrow, June 14, at 460 Pine.
Like his pie-lovin’ neighbor next door, The Pie Bar, Romeo Chocolates started inside Romeo’s own kitchen and became a Long Beach staple through offering his delectables at MADE by Millworks. Up until his shop opened, Romeo worked as a cottage business, which allows artisanal makers to produce certain approved food and goods at home. Under this law, there is a different type of permitting that does not require a commercial kitchen as long as the Health Department visits and approves of the home kitchen, food preparation, and packaging. As long as all items are sealed and packaged, these goods can be sold with retail partners.
Of course, like many businesses at MADE, that was just a stepping stone for Romeo. Cottage businesses can’t ship their products but only sell inside other retail establishments like MADE itself, Recreational Coffee, Berlin Bistro, and more. While these partnerships have established Romeo with a well-respected name, the ultimate goal is what he now has: his own commercial kitchen and space along with the creation of an online store to go entirely into the realm of full-time small business.
Meanwhile, over in the Shore, people might have noticed the opening of Lasher’s Kitchen. This old-school joint was a longtime staple in the local food scene when it was housed in the space now occupying The Attic.
The goal? Continental cuisine that offers more homey plates than its Belmont Heights predecessor: from Karaage chicken in a waffle bowl atop mashed potatoes to fried green tomatoes with andouille sausage, Lasher’s is looking to aim for people’s hearts and stomachs.
They’re located at 5295 E 2nd Street and just celebrated their grand opening this past Sunday.