Daniel Cooper has truffles galore, gelato and premium desserts at his latest store.
A bit of Willie Wonka – or perhaps P.T. Barnum – has gotten into Daniel Cooper.
At his latest store on Grandview Avenue, customers get a front-row view of the inner workings of a chocolate shop. At Pure Imagination Chocolatier, Chocolate Studio and Gallery, the interior is outfitted with a glass-walled exhibition kitchen, where the confections will be prepared and decorated.
"It will be really theatrical," Cooper said. "We want people to come in and see it being made."
The Grandview Avenue location, which opens Aug. 31, will have dozens of truffles ($1.25 each), from traditional flavors to the exotic – lavender citrus honey, blueberry and gouda, and creme brulee.
"Truffles will always be the diamond of the chocolate world because they're small and have a lot of value," he said.
Cookies, snacks and fruit dipped in chocolate also are part of the inventory. In fact, there will be a circulating pool of melted chocolate for customized dipping.
If that's not enough, the place is offering so-called chocolate shots: a syringe filled with the molten stuff "for that quick dose of indulgence," Cooper said.
If the newest Pure Imagination store sounds like an adult candy land, Cooper wants to assure customers that children are more than welcome.
"We're definitely going to have kid-friendly chocolate," he said.
Gelato is among Pure Imagination's new offerings. The store will sell a dozen rotating flavors, sold by the scoop and pint. Also, Pure Imagination will sell premium desserts made in Indiana.
Cooper, a self-taught chocolatier, said he was 17 years old when he started making confections for family members.
His skill grew, and 12 years ago, he opened Pure Imagination Chocolatier in the North Market, a repository of customized truffles and other treats.
As the store's popularity grew, Cooper needed more space, so he leased a production facility in Hilliard.
All the while, his affable grandmother, Olga "Yaiyai" Philiopoulos, has been a steady, smiling face at the North Market. Cooper, 39, branched out into the wholesale world but decided it was too much for a small chocolatier.
He always yearned to be on a busy strip, where the merchandise was made in the store – the Old World way.
"That was just the way it was supposed to be done," he said.
He said he had his eyes on Grandview Avenue for about five years.
He took over a 1,500-square-foot space, formerly a frame shop, at 1205 Grandview Ave. There is no seating inside.
"I like the feel of Grandview," he said. "It truly needs an artisan chocolatier. It has that vibe to it."
Pure Imagination will be open for lunch and dinner hours daily. For more information, call 614-488-3070.
More New York-style pizza has emerged in central Ohio. Savelli's has opened at 1420 Presidential Drive in the Heritage apartment complex near Grandview Heights.
It's one of the rare places in town that sells pizza by the slice – $2.25 for cheese, $2.50 for pepperoni.
Bobby Cooper, who grew up in Rochester, N.Y., said the space wasn't being used, so he decided to open a comfy pizzeria that seats 16.
"That was the concept, to make it personable," he said.
The place also sells whole pies, salads, a few starters, wraps and subs.
Savelli's opens at 4 p.m. daily. For more information, call 614-488-8900.
Incidentally, traditional Columbus pies with a thinner crust divided into squares, also known as the party cut, are available at his place next door, 1420 Bar & Grill, which serves American tavern fare. Cooper recently renamed the spot, long known as the Black Horse Inn.