Katie Byard
 |  Special to Akron Beacon Journal

Akron lost its iconic longtime Temo’s chocolate shop last year, but its spirit sweetly lives on in downtown Akron.

Locally owned Indulge Chocolates opened about 15 months ago at  209 S. Main St., a few doors south of the longtime Peanut Shoppe. 

Lately, Indulge chocolate makers have been busy making chocolate molded hearts and otherwise gearing up for Valentine’s Day — a top-selling holiday for chocolate.

Indulge owners say they are fortunate they learned some chocolate-making skills from Temo’s owner Larry Temo. That was before Temo’s, which opened on West Exchange Street in 1947, closed last year. 

“We took those building blocks” from Temo to help develop Indulge, said Pat Jaworski, 23, who owns Indulge Chocolates with his brothers Zachary, 28, and Jeremy, 30.

Indulge is a sister company to Chill Artisanal Ice Cream. The Main Street site — which also goes by the name Chill and Indulge — offers all of Chill’s ice cream — 31 flavors, many of which regularly change. 

Chill opened its first shop, on Medina’s historic Public Square, in 2015 and its second spot, on High Street in downtown Akron, in 2016. 

A fourth Chill store —also dubbed Chill and Indulge  — is set to open in the plaza at Windfall and Medina Roads in Medina Township sometime this spring.

Before opening Indulge in downtown Akron in November 2019, the brothers had talked with Temo about taking over his operation, Pat Jaworski said. But Temo wasn’t ready to let the shop go at the time, Jaworski said.

Folks with the Downtown Akron Partnership, the nonprofit organization working to boost downtown, had introduced the brothers to Temo. 

Chill Artisanal Ice Cream offers adventurous flavors — as does Indulge Chocolates.

At Indulge, peach champagne, passion fruit and blueberry cardamom are just some of the flavors of fruit creams — chocolate shells with soft centers.

Blood orange, strawberry rosewater, red raspberry and tart cherry are other fruit cream flavors.

Also available are chocolate clusters — peanut clusters and toasted coconut — as well as squares of peanut butter enrobed in chocolate and enrobed caramels.

There also are turtles — caramel and cashew or caramel and pecan — chocolate covered pretzels, chocolate covered marshmallows, chocolate bark and more.

All the chocolates are on display inside wood and glass cases at the small Main Street store, giving the place an old-timey feel. 

The Jaworski brothers bought the display cases from a Medina County tack shop. 

Special for Valentine’s Day at Indulge are heart-shaped hot chocolate bombs filled with hot cocoa, marshmallows, a dash of booze and other goodies.

The bombs — along with a variety of Indulge chocolates — also are available at the Medina shop.

All of the chocolates are made at the High Street location, where you can often find the Jaworski brothers secret weapon: parents, Michelle and Craig.

Retired, Michelle and Craig help out, making chocolate and ice cream. Last week, they were busy making “Easter prototypes,” using molds to make various chocolate bunny confections.

Creative flavors

The brothers opened their first shop — the one in Medina — after working jobs in the food service industry. They wanted to start a business of their own, but didn’t want to delve into full-service restaurant ownership.

“With ice cream, everybody is really happy when they come in,” Pat Jaworski said.

The brothers figured they could set their ice cream shop apart by offering creative flavors that regularly change. There are seven signature flavors always available, such as Vanilla Cloud, Chocolate Chip and Cookies and Lavender Queen Bee. 

Along with the signature flavors, the High Street shop last week was scooping Baklava, Pancakes and Syrup, Chocolate Chai Tea, Sangria, Mango Honey Walnut and Peanut Butter Cinnamon Cayenne, among other flavors.

A selection of nondairy flavors are always available.

The brothers see Indulge as a sweet extension of their ice cream small-batch production.

The plan is to have the chocolate lineup change somewhat, but not as frequently. Some offerings will always be available.

Pat Jaworski is clearly proud that all of the shops have remained open through the pandemic and plans are bring made for the new location in Medina Township.

Online sales have helped. Go to https://indulge-chocolate.com for more information.

“We would be in a lot worse shape” if not for receiving grants aimed at keeping small businesses viable amid the pandemic, Jaworski said. 

Indulge and Chill at 209 S. Main St. in downtown Akron is open from noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Grabham’s chocolate-covered strawberries

While we’re talking local chocolate…

Longtime chocolatier Grabham Candies of Cuyahoga Falls is again offering chocolate-covered strawberries for Valentine’s Day.

Cost is $16.98 per pound. Order ahead to ensure availability. Strawberries will be available for pickup beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. Sunday.

To order, call 330-923-6285 or stop in the store at 4301 State Road.

New Mexican eatery/tequila bar coming to downtown

The historic Gothic building in downtown Akron that previously housed Nuevo Modern Mexican & Tequila Bar will soon be home to a new Mexican eatery.

Luis Escudero, 26, hopes to open El Patron Tequileria & Cuisine in time for Cinco De Mayo May 5.

Escudero said he quit working with his family’s restaurant in Seville — El Patron Mexican Cuisine —in  December  to concentrate on opening his own Tequila-centric place. 

He inquired about leasing the Gothic building at Mill and High streets in 2019, after Nuevo Modern Mexican closed. Last year, he said, he and the building’s owner reached an agreement.

Escudero, who graduated from the University of Akron with a degree in mechanical engineering, had eaten at Nuevo and thought the space would be a good fit for his restaurant vision.

“The layout is perfect,” he said, “and it’s got the rooftop bar and patio.”

The Akron Nuevo Modern Mexican & Tequila bar closed in early 2019. The Cleveland Nuevo Modern Mexican & Tequila Bar remains open.

Last week, I visited Escudero at the downtown Akron building where he talked about El Patron’s menu, as well as cosmetic changes he is making to the interior.

The menu will be a simple affair, featuring street tacos — corn tortillas stuffed with meat and topped with cilantro and onion — burritos, fajitas and snack items such as guacamoles and salsas.

He’s planning to offer some 100 varieties of tequila, various margarita renditions and other cocktails.

The focus of the cosmetic changes is giving the interior a classic Spanish-Colonial feel. Walls will be painted white and an arch is being installed on the wall behind the bar that will boast shelves lined with tequila bottles.

A pale green (think agave plant green) will be an accent color.

So why didn’t Escudero pursue an engineering career?

 “I fell in love with the restaurant industry” after working for so long in the family business, Escudero said. “I’m a people person.”

Friends, meanwhile, have wondered why he’s going forward with his plans amid the pandemic.

“Circumstances lined up,” Escudero said. “I’m a risk taker. I like to keep staying busy.”

El Patron Tequileria & Cuisine will be open Monday through Saturday.

Purim treats available

Volunteers at Anshe Sfard (Revere Road Synagogue) have baked 1,800 hamantashen for sale.

The triangular fruit-filled goodies are a traditional treat of Purim, the most festive of Jewish holidays. 

With their three corners, hamentashen are meant to resemble the hat worn by the dreaded Persian dictator Haman from the book of Esther. Purim celebrates Esther’s bravery in thwarting Haman’s plot to annihilate Jews.

The Women’s Chavurah group of the Revere Road synagogue in Akron sells the pastries for $12 per dozen in prune, apricot, raspberry, poppy seed, chocolate, cherry or an assortment.

You don’t have to celebrate Purim to enjoy these treats.

Online or phone orders must be placed by Sunday, Feb. 14 and can be picked up at Anshe Sfard, 646 N. Revere Road in Akron from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 21. To order online, go to www.akronshul.com/hamantash. The phone at Anshe Sfard is 330-867-7292.

Purim begins the evening of Feb. 25. 

Valentine’s Day bubbly

Papa Joe’s Iacomini’s restaurant in the Merriman Valley is getting bubbly for this Valentine’s Day, offering free delivery of Veuve Clicquot brut champagne.

The eatery also will play Cupid and include a personalized love note.

You also can order eats to go with the champagne.

Call 330-923-7999 to reserve a bottle ($66.99) and delivery time. Available in Summit County only. Papa Joe’s is at 1561 Akron-Peninsula Road. 

Trivia: Veuve Clicquot is named for Barbe-Nicole Clicquot, who was widowed at the age of 27 and went on to make a name for herself running the family wine-making business (later named Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin) and her innovations in the wine industry. Today, it is owned by the LVHM group. Veuve means “widow” in French.  

Mardi Gras at West Side Bakery

West Side Bakery will soon be frying up a load of beignets, the pillowy French fritters, to celebrate Mardi Gras, which this year is Tuesday, Feb. 16.

They will be available while they last Saturday, Monday and Tuesdayat the bakery, 2303 W. Market St. in the Pilgrim Square plaza in West Akron.

For pickup on Fat Tuesday, the bakery is encouraging people to make prepaid orders ahead of time so that orders can be picked up curbside. Following COVID-19 protocols, the store only allows three customers inside at a time.

Also available are king cakes. These doughy round cakes are decorated with sugar toppings in the traditional Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and gold. Call 330-836-4101.

Mufaletta sandwiches are available now through Fat Tuesday. 

Red beans and rice will be available Monday, and shrimp gumbo will be offered Fat Tuesday. 

Taste of N’Awlins at Ido Bar & Grill

The Ido Bar & Grill, at 1537 S. Main St. in Akron, is continuing its Taste of N’Awlins  eats through Feb. 16. A special will be featured each day.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.  

Order online at https://www.toasttab.com/ido-bar-grill. Phone is 330-773-1724.

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