WICKER PARK — An old-fashioned ice cream parlor and confectionery that sells caramel apples "as big as your head" is moving to Wicker Park's Division Street after 27 years in the Gold Coast.
"I am excited. I am not used to sitting around," said Dominick Gusmanos, owner of Mr. Kite's Chocolate Shop, which plans to open at 2120 W. Division St. in October, just in time for the holidays.
Described as "a chocolate cave" — one specialty is chocolate-dipped Oreos — and a "crazy old school hidden treasure" by fans on Yelp.com, Mr. Kite's offers three varieties of Granny Smith caramel apples dressed with M & Ms and English Toffee. They also offer cupcakes and 16 flavors of ice cream.
Gusmanos, a 54-year-old Rogers Park resident, opened Mr. Kite's Chocolate Shop in 1987 at 1153 N. State St., where it operated for 20 years.
In 2007, the impending demolition of the building that Gusmanos was renting a storefront in prompted a moved to 6 West Maple St. in the Gold Coast. Renovations in April forced Mr. Kite's out, Gusmanos said.
After searching in several areas for a new home for his business, which employs five people in addition to himself, Gusmanos said he selected Wicker Park's Division Street because "there are a lot of restaurants here but no ice cream and chocolate stores."
Gusmanos said he is "happy for the wide sidewalks" on Division, which will be helpful when he introduces a sidewalk patio next summer.
Located just west of the Damen and Division street intersection, Gusmanos said the shop will have an estimated 100 offerings on the menu, including best-selling caramel apples, pixies, s'mores made with peanut butter and caramel filling and chocolate-covered Rice Krispie treats.
"I like sweets; that is my big problem. I tend to be a diabetic, but I still love chocolate," Gusmanos said.
For those wondering about the origin of the shop's name, Mr. Kite pays homage to a former business partner, Henry Kites, who parted ways with Gusmanos within a few years of the shop's opening.
"Everybody calls me Mr. Kite but I am not Mr. Kite," said Gusmanos, who was born in Taiwan and grew up in the Philippines before moving to Chicago at age 21.
Mr. Kite's Chocolate, no website yet. When Mr. Kite opens, the shop's hours will be 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mon-Sat. 10 a.m. to 9 Sunday. Ph: 312-664-7270.
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: