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Swiss Chocolatier Läderach Opens a Union Station Shop With a Self-Serve Carousel

Plus, D.C. celebrates Mardi Gras with a “Bean-efit” dinner for restaurant workers

Läderach fills Union Station’s mezzanine-level hole left behind by Magnolia Bakery. 
Läderach fills Union Station’s mezzanine-level hole left behind by Swarovski.
Läderach/official photo
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

Swiss chocolate chain Läderach made good on its plan to open in D.C. by Valentine’s Day, bringing 100 varieties of chocolate to Union Station over the weekend. Eye candy behind its glassy facade includes a chocolate bark counter showcasing over 20 types of hand-cut slabs. Customers can also peruse pralines, airy “MiniMousses,” and a self-serve carousel stacked with bags of wrapped chocolate (11 a.m. to 6 p.m daily). The nearly 60-year-old confectionary empire opened its first stateside store in New York City in 2019. Produced inside twin factories nestled in the Swiss Alps, Läderach’s “bean-to-bar” line gets shipped to its 100 retail stores around the globe, with dozens of domestic stores now on the way.

According to a representative for Läderach, the company will take over 34 leases for Godiva stores that are shuttering across North America. Chosen locations to reboot will be revealed by early April, with plans to hire Godiva staff and reopen stores by mid-2021.

In other news...

  • D.C. swaps beads for beans with a Fat Tuesday BEAN-EFIT. The first 100 unemployed hospitality workers to visit 25 participating restaurants from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. will get a bean dish for free thanks to a 1,000-pound donation from New Orleans company Camellia Beans. The 10,000-meal giveaway comes in lieu of D.C.’s annual Mardi Gras Extravaganza.
“Bean-efit” comes from Mardi Gras Extravaganza co-chairs David Guas (Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery), Spike and Micheline Mendelsohn (We The Pizza) and Gina Chersevani (Buffalo & Bergen).
  • Convivial chef/owner Cedric Maupillier marks Mardi Gras with a prix fixe menu for two ($85) featuring Creole shrimp rémoulade, jambalaya, and a French King Cake, with traditional cocktails like a Hurricane and Southern bourbon milk punch for extra. Pre-order for pickup or book for indoor/outdoor dining.
Convivial’s French King Cake packs a puff pastry with almond and rum frangipane filling.
Convivial/official photo
  • FLOTUS Jill Biden curbed a pre-Valentine’s Day sweet tooth at Capitol Hill’s Black-owned bakery the Sweet Lobby, racking up a $100 tab on cupcakes and macarons in her inaugural appearance at a D.C. food biz as First Lady. [W]
  • Japanese noodle bar Zao Stamina Ramen will open in downtown Bethesda in mid-March (7345 Wisconsin Avenue), reports Bethesda Beat.
  • Developer Akridge will bring a massive mixed-use project to Southwest’s Buzzard Point, complete with 80,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space. Construction will commence in 2022. [W]
  • Grazie Grazie owner Casey Patten teamed up with his friends at Indian fast-casual Rasa for his Tuesday pan pizza pop-up on the Wharf. The 50 tandoori paneer-and-lamb kebab pies in stock sold out in 43 minutes Monday night.