Dandelion To Open New Mission Chocolate Factory This Week

by Alyssa Pereira | SF GATE | Photos: Santiago Mejia, The Chronicle

Dandelion Chocolate is finally ready to unwrap its newest creation for San Francisco's sugar fans: a 28,105-square-foot production facility — with two cafés — in the Mission District.

The factory, at 2600 16th St. (at Alabama Street) has been a work in progress for five years, plagued by permitting delays and construction setbacks. But on April 19, it will finally open to the public.

The space is meant to be inviting to onlookers; co-founder Todd Masonis told Hoodline that they "design(ed) it so that everything is on display," including 30 machines imported from as far off as China, India and Italy. The machines sort, roast and crush cacao beans for chocolate.

But perhaps what's most exciting for locals is the push to engage the general public with the space. They'll teach chocolate-making classes for small groups and lead lectures around sourcing ingredients, the confection's history, and chocolate tasting. They'll also offer up to three tours per day, and host events specific to children.

Plus, there will be two cafés. There's Bloom, a sit-down Parisian-style "salon" which sells coffee, hot cocoa and pastries, and a to-go area with an entry on Alabama Street for folks who want to grab a Ritual coffee or baked snack on the fly.

But the real treat for Dandelion is the added chocolate-making capacity, which Eater reports could multiply their output up to 20-fold. It was a production upgrade the company desperately needed, Masonis said last month.

"We thought maybe a few people would show up per day, but by the time we opened our doors, we were completely maxed out," he explained. "We were telling people to buy (fewer) bars ... that's kinda weird as a business."

Despite all the changes, the 740 Valencia Street space will press on and continue to produce chocolate. Staff there, however, will focus on more small-batch projects.

Dandelion Chocolate's new Mission District space opens at 2600 16th Street on Friday, April 19.