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SD's Willy Wonka Builds New Chocolate Factory

Eclipse Chocolat, corner of Fern and Ivy in South Park
Eclipse Chocolat, corner of Fern and Ivy in South Park

The candy man is on the move. Eclipse Chocolat's multiple hat-wearing (owner, creative director, exec chef and lead chocolatier) Will Gustwiller gave Eater San Diego a first look at his new chocolate factory, shop and restaurant due to open in South Park, at the corner of Fern and Ivy, by the beginning of February.

Nine years ago, as a recent SDSU grad with an MFA in sculpture, Gustwiller started exploring chocolate as his medium, and in 2007 opened a small artisan chocolate shop and cafe on El Cajon Boulevard. The original store will be closing in January to make way for the ambitious the new 4,000 square foot South Park project, which was partially funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign.

At the core of the new location is a 40-seat dining room that will open for community events and where Gustwiller continue to host monthly dinners featuring multi-course menus that incorporate either chocolate, vanilla bean or caramel into each dish, sweet or savory. Viewing windows scattered throughout the space will allow diners to peek into the new chocolate production facility (no, the workers won't be orange and vertically-challenged) that'll increase Eclipse's output by tenfold. Gustwiller's constantly thinking about creative additions to Eclipse's product line, and now that he's smack in the middle of the craft beer corridor, he's considering local brewery collaborations — from Eclipse chocolate-infused beer to developing beer caramels and beer-flavored chocolate.

In the front of the space will be a 30-seat cafe and retail chocolate counter which will offer daily brunch service. Eventually, there will be a craft beer and wine bar that'll be open into the evenings; a design for an outdoor patio is also in the works.
· Eclipse Chocolat [Official Site]
· Eclipse Celebrates 5th Anniversary With Expansion Announcement [SDReader]