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Cable-Car.jpeg Albert Law
The redesigned restaurant has a model of a San Francisco cable car.

The original Ghirardelli shop in San Francisco gets a makeover

A flowing chocolate wall and a giant ‘G’ are among the highlights of the new space

After six months of renovations, the Original Ghirardelli Chocolate & Ice Cream Shop, located in San Francisco's Ghirardelli Square, has reopened.

“Last year Ghirardelli celebrated 170 years as a company, and, to mark our milestone anniversary, as well as our ongoing commitment to the historic square and to our home city of San Francisco, we invested in a multi-phase renovation process," said Joel Burrows, Ghirardelli’s president and CEO. "In the 1960s the Original Ghirardelli Chocolate & Ice Cream Shop was the first Ghirardelli location to serve hot fudge sundaes, and we have been honored to be part of so many special family memories created in the space for generations of chocolate lovers."

Not much has changed to the façade of the historic building, but a lot has been added inside. To start with, the venue now has North America's largest flowing chocolate wall and a display of antique confectioner equipment. Guests can also check out the 19-foot letter G, which came from the original, 100-year-old Ghirardelli sign and got cleaned and updated with LED lights. For history lovers, there’s a tiled mural of the San Francisco skyline on the second floor.

There's also a replica of the famous San Francisco cable car, a photo-ready spot that doubles as seating for visitors. It's a fun touch, said Burrows, because San Francisco cable cars are celebrating 150 years, just 20 years shy of when Ghirardelli was founded. In fact, he added, Ghirardelli was one of the original advertisers in the cable cars, and the new shop features vintage Ghirardelli advertisements in the Sun Room.

“When we approached the renovation, it was important for us to keep the original character of the building and maintain our heritage of where we started in San Francisco, but also provide new features to further enhance the retail experience for our guests," said Burrows. "We hope to offer all who visit a beautifully refreshed shop that still celebrates our rich history, and helps visitors create sweet memories with their families and friends for many more chocolate-loving generations to come.”

Though the company's legacy in San Francisco dates back to the 1850s, the recently renovated space opened in 1966. It was Ghirardelli's first location that focused on sundaes, and its signature hot fudge.

Because of that, another big part of the renovation consists of a revamp to the sundae menu, with the new version featuring 15 different options. Sundaes include the Golden Gate Banana Split ($12.45), Treasure Island warm brownie sundae ($11.95), Marina raspberry sorbet sundae ($10.95), and the Painted Ladies line of mint, espresso and dark chocolate sundaes ($11.95 each). The shop also showcases cookies, brownies, coffee drinks, and milkshakes, which start at $6.50.

Overseen by Bay Area firm Eight Inc., this revamp of the completes the second part of Ghirardelli Square's renovation project. The first part debuted last year with a retail space called the Chocolate Experience Store.

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