Ghirardelli Chocolate Company announced the start of its second flagship store renovation at Ghirardelli Square. The project will highlight Ghirardelli’s legacy as a U.S. chocolate pioneer and the company’s deep roots in San Francisco that date back to the 1850s. Last year, the company unveiled a completely reimagined Chocolate Experience Store, Ghirardelli’s other flagship retail space at Ghirardelli Square. The Original Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop will be closed during the renovation until its reopening in Summer 2023.
Introduced in 1966, the Original Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop was Ghirardelli’s first location that focused on sundaes. The renovated store format will showcase the brand’s history in chocolate, sundae making and other fountain and bakery favorites like milkshakes, hot chocolate, brownies, cookies and freshly made daily hot fudge. Other notable aspects of the newly renovated store will include 15 different kinds of sundaes, including Ghirardelli’s Hot Fudge Sundae, a replica San Francisco cable car that doubles as a seating area, and antique chocolate making equipment on display.
“2023 marks Ghirardelli’s 171st year operating in the city of San Francisco, making us the longest continuously operating chocolate manufacturer in the U.S.,” said Joel Burrows, Ghirardelli’s President and CEO in a statement. “We can’t wait to invite the public to see our redesigned shop, which will blend modern design elements with our brand’s unmatched history.”
Among the other new elements of the store, visitors will be able to see the original, 100-year-old Ghirardelli G on display. For decades it sat atop the building as part of the lit Ghirardelli sign that so many travelers and locals alike identify with San Francisco. Aside from being rewired and outfitted with efficient, low-wattage bulbs, the sign component looks as it did in 1923, when illuminated displays were more novel. The sign atop the building today is equipped with a color-changing Color Kinetics LED system that enables each letter to independently display a variety of colors.
In addition to the newly remodeled Chocolate Experience Store and the takeout-oriented Ghirardelli-On-The-Go location (which serves a more streamlined menu designed for takeout), Ghirardelli will operate a pop-up store at the square during the construction process to limit disruption and extend the Ghirardelli experience. Design of the multi-phase renovation project has been led by Bay Area firm Eight Inc.
“Ghirardelli Square has been home to our brand since the 19th Century. The complex is now on The National Historic Register of Places,” added Burrows. “It’s truly one of San Francisco’s must-see destinations. I think locals and visitors alike will love our new space.”