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'Chocolat' Restaurant Is Set to Open in Harlem

By DNAinfo Staff on July 12, 2010 12:01pm

Simone Sebastian

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

CENTRAL HARLEM — Will Harlem like Chocolat as much as they like Moca?

An uptown business owner hopes the answer will be yes, when he opens his second Harlem hangout with a cocoa-themed name next week.

Chocolat, touted as a full-service fusion restaurant that will offer American, Italian and Thai dishes, is located just one block from its sister eaterie and bar, Moca Lounge. Moca is located on Frederick Douglass Boulevard at 119th Street. Chocolat will open its doors on the corner of 120th Street.

"I believe people will dine at Chocolat and come to Moca for the after-dinner experience," said owner Leon Ellis.

Ellis has operated Moca for about eight years. He wouldn't specify a day, but said he expects to open Chocolat's doors mid-week.

Chocolat will serve brunch, lunch and dinner. Its fusion menu is a nod to the neighborhood's growing diversity, Ellis said.

"The changes in the community almost demand that you have more eateries ... because people moving into the area expect those services," said Ellis, who has lived in Harlem for nearly his entire life.

Despite the choclate-themed names, don't expect to find baked goods or confections at either spot. The names are a reference to the comforting environment that Ellis hopes that his businesses provide, not to their menus.

"I love chocolate. And most people do," Ellis said. "The name connotates a good experience for most people."