Originally featured in Lancaster County Magazine.
In Lititz, the destination for chocolate lovers is Café Chocolate, where the menu features drinks, entrées and desserts made with chocolate.
Established by Selena Man in 2005, Café Chocolate has been owned and operated by Janice Dull since June 2013. Prior to purchasing the café, Janice had frequented it for years. No doubt, the casual, relaxing atmosphere was one of the elements that prompted her to become a restaurant owner.
Homey is also an apt description for the café. One of the tables is located in the front window overlooking Main Street, while other tables are scattered throughout the café. Seating is also available at the counter. “The table in the front window is really popular; people call and reserve that table. It’s a great spot to watch what’s going on outside,” she says. The cafe’s small footprint grows during the warmer months thanks to the garden patio to the rear and two sidewalk tables that flank the entrance. “The patio is tucked away in the back, and it’s really pretty. It’s grown in popularity over the past few years but is still a bit of a hidden gem,” Janice explains.
The welcoming atmosphere prompts guests to stay a while and catch up with friends or enjoy a board game such as chess or Monopoly. Wi-Fi is available as well. “We have a relaxing atmosphere. There are a number of regulars, some of whom automatically head toward their favorite stool at the counter. Some people eat and go, while some will have a more leisurely time,” she says.
Café Chocolate also exudes a sense of community, as it’s frequented by a number of small groups including book and Red Hat clubs. It’s also bustling with activity during Lititz’s Second Friday events.
That same sense of community is embraced locally and globally. Janice is committed to using fresh, local ingredients, as well as serving Fair Trade coffees, teas and chocolate. Café Chocolate supports the Rainforest Alliance. Chocolate for Life, the café’s slogan, refers to the lives of the people who grow cacao, the rainforest that sustains it and those who eat chocolate.
Chocolate, it seems, is more than an indulgence. It delivers health benefits such as antioxidants, helps to control cholesterol, reduces inflammation, lowers blood pressure and increases blood flow. It also benefits the cardiovascular system and, of course, boosts our spirits. The darker the better, but just because it’s good for you doesn’t mean you can eat all you want.
As one would expect, the café’s menu features a wide array of chocolate items, including drinks such as hot chocolate (served both warm and frozen) and the chocolate strawberry lush (which Janice likens to drinking a chocolate-dipped strawberry), chocolate dessert items, chocolate entrées (chili and a dark-chocolate crepe), chocolate fondue (which Janice describes as an instant celebration!), and chocolate-dipped treats.
But, there’s more to like about Café Chocolate than chocolate. Seasonal drinks such as an iced turbo, lemonade freeze and strawberry cooler are perfect thirst quenchers on a hot day. Breakfast items are available all day. For lunch and dinner, soups (made from scratch), salads, a meatless Portobello mushroom burger, salmon cake and vegetable curry Siam with black rice risotto are available. Popular sandwiches include smoked chicken wrap, roast turkey croissant and the Cubano.
There are also monthly soup, sandwich and drink specials. Some of the newer menu items started out as specials. “A number of the specials like the Cubano and smoked chicken sandwich were so popular that I added them to the menu,” Janice notes.
The sunshine crepe is a customer favorite – the whole-grain crepe is filled with fruit (strawberries and bananas), and topped with strawberries, kiwi and pineapple, and then is finished with whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate.
The menu features a number of choices for gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian or sugar-free lifestyles. Janice adds that the chocolate used in drinks, salad dressings, crepes and for dipping is dairy-free. Soy or almond milk may be used upon request for hot chocolate. Café Chocolate’s signature truffles are sugar-free (six varieties are sugar- and dairy-free). Scones and cupcakes are always gluten-free. A dark-chocolate cupcake is always among the cupcake offerings.
Whole bean coffee (the same coffee served at the café) is available for purchase, as are teas and custom gift baskets.
Café Chocolate is located at 40 East Main Street in Lititz. Hours are Monday through Thursday, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. (open until 9 p.m. for Lititz Second Friday) and Sunday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Guests may BYOB. For more information, call 717-626-0123 or visit chocolatelititz.com and on Facebook. Reservations may be made via the café’s website.