LILY O’BRIEN’S CHOCOLATE CAFE: It’s not like dark chocolate is better or milk chocolate is the best, it was Friday at 6:15 p.m. and I needed to rest. When I am at that point, I want to pamper my bones, so I go to Lily O’Brien’s Chocolate Café at 36 West 40th Street. I first started with a hot dark chocolate coffee. On my left were two young sharp suburban girls. Katelynn was eating Chocolate Noir; her sister, Shannon was enjoying Butter Cream Milk Chocolate. I asked, “What it is about chocolate, do you think?” They smiled as I ate my Sticky Toffee. “It’s a girl thing,” said Shannon. “Yes,” Katelynn agreed. “Besides, you can have a little bit, it’s satisfying and you don’t need more.” Shannon savored her chocolate for a moment. “It’s cute in more ways than one,” she said. “It’s not always in our house, which makes it special. Our mom got us started, she loves chocolate.”
Not fifteen minutes earlier, a father and daughter from The Netherlands came in with friends who live in New York. Paul directed his party to Lily O’ Briens. He said, “I recognized the name from Ireland, and I’m delighted to introduce my daughter, Denise, and our friends to a chocolate treat.”
And when they left, I decided to speak to the manager, Artem Rukazenkov and his assistant, Olesya Dillon about my find. I found out that Lily O’ Brien’s chocolate is 100% Belgian chocolate. Their café in Bryant Park is the only one in the United States. It was started by Mary Ann O’Brien in Ireland, and named after her daughter, Lily. While listening in between, I ordered a Salted Carmel. “One of our most popular chocolates,” Olesya said. “Along with White Crème Brũlèe, Chocolate Noir, and of course, Sticky Toffee is really famous in Ireland. A complimentary chocolate is always served with coffee.” “In the mornings,” I mentioned, “It’s busy, buzzing with bright faces and no room to sit.” Suddenly, a burst of chuckles from Artem and Olesya, who divulged, “I know, it’s like two different worlds, but the chocolate remains the same.”
By this time, I thought I could not eat another bite. In the background played music from the Broadway show, Chicago. But I started speaking to a couple from France. They were having espresso and coffee. I enjoyed vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce on the top. Simply delicious, I said. The Madame said, “This café is comforting, cozy, and I love that they give you a chocolate with coffee.” We chatted longer—sometime later, she and her husband said, au revoir. I said good night to the team at Lily O Brien’s Chocolate Café. What’s more? Catch it if you can at www.lilyscafenyc.com!