New Gourmet Dessert, Coffee Shop To Open In Greenwich
Chocoylatte Gourmet will officially open in Cos Cob this month with a grand opening ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Chocoylatte Gourmet in Cos Cob will open its doors to the public on Monday, July 8. (Photo credit: Kelly Dantas)
GREENWICH, CT — Kelly Dantas has wanted to do something with desserts ever since she came to the United States in 2008. Now, over a decade later, that dream is about to become a reality when Chocoylatte Gourmet in Cos Cob opens its doors to the public next week.
The store will host a grand opening ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday at 11 a.m. First Selectman Peter Tesei and State Representative Fred Camilo are scheduled to participate in the ceremony, and the first 100 guests will receive a surprise gift.
Located at 121 E. Putnam Avenue, the dessert and coffee shoppe is a passion project for Dantas, the idea for which came from a desire to open a place where families could enjoy desserts that taste as good as they look.
"Dessert is a chemistry," Dantas said to Patch. "If you have the right ingredients, you have the best dessert. If you have the wrong ingredients, that's when you mess it up."
Though it comes from a place of passion, Chocoylatte is actually the result of years of research on Dantas' part, during the course of which she came to the conclusion that the base of most great desserts is chocolate and needed the best for her store.
"I researched 180 suppliers from all over the world," Dantas said. "I wanted to find the purest chocolate for baking that could go with most ingredients so we could have the best results."
Though she did not wish to disclose her supplier, she believes the one she settled on is the "purest and finest chocolate anywhere."
Dantas developed all the recipes at Chocoylatte herself, as well as the overall concept of the store. She described it as a "grab-and-go" experience, offering a huge assortment of chocolates, candies, cookies and other dessert items, each completely different than anything you can find elsewhere. There is also a full commercial kitchen located behind the store where every treat will be prepared from scratch each day and handcrafted onsite.
A Greenwich resident, Dantas said she never considered opening the store in any other community.
"[In Greenwich], you have people that have traveled all over the world and have had the best tasting stuff you can find out there," Dantas said. "If you can be successful in Greenwich, you can be successful anywhere. Customers here know what it is good and know what they are looking for. When I thought about where to open, I didn't think of any other place. I really wanted to hear what the customers here have to say."
The store, which occupies a corner lot that has been completely renovated to replicate a European-looking café, will also serve traditional coffee, flavored coffee creations, teas, hot chocolate and fresh juices. There will also be an 8-foot tall chocolate fountain.
"I wanted to do something traditional but also bring a little bit of a European style here," Dantas said. "I would call it a traditional, old-European style."
Dantas both oversaw and conceived the exterior and interior designs of the store, which includes plush bench seating, small café-style tables and a 60-inch chandelier that was custom-made out of teacups. She also personally designed the decorative jewel-inspired cake packages and gift boxes for carry-out items.
"We really took a long time to develop the concept, because I want this to turn into a brand," Dantas said. "This first store is where we are trying everything. We are bringing everything that was on my mind to life. Here we will try the recipes to see what the customers like and what they dislike...until we have the final concept, and then we will expand."
Dantas is no stranger to the world of business. She currently runs runs two construction companies, and prior to that had a successful candle making business in Brazil for 10 years.
"Chocoylatte actually is my baby," Dantas said. "My other companies are the source of my income, and this is my heart."
Her entrepreneurship actually earned her the US EB1 Green Card, also known as the Einstein visa, for "persons of extraordinary ability" in business and marketing, according to a release about the store's opening. The visa requires the petitioner to show that the individual has "risen to the very top of the endeavor with national or international acclaim."
Dantas said she came to the United States with only $100 in her pocket and was able to work her way to where she is today due to her business drive and determination to succeed.
"At some point in my life, I wanted to do something that I could really put my heart in," Dantas said. "That's what Chocoylatte is."
When asked what advice she would give somebody who wishes to follow in her footsteps and open their own business, Dantas said the secret is to never give up and to manage expectations when starting out.
"Nothing happens overnight, but you can't give up," Dantas said. "It doesn't matter how long it takes, and it doesn't matter if you fail; just keep going."