Last fall the heart of many a New Yorker was broken when it was announced that the legendary City Bakery would be closing its doors forever. While a beloved NYC icon being forced out of business to make room for more awesome things like banks and pharmacies is nothing shocking, the idea of living in a world where Maury Rubin’s famous hot chocolate no longer existed was soul-crushing. My husband, a former employee of City Bakery, gave readers of The Takeout a recipe that is very, very, very close to the real thing, but a cup of hot chocolate that’s made at home just doesn’t taste the same as one sipped on city sidewalks dressed in holiday style. There’s a bit of magic when it comes to Maury Rubin, though, and, thanks to a nameless tech executive who cares as deeply about this hot chocolate as I do, that magic is back, baby! Maury Rubin 2.0, comin’ atcha, just in time for National Hot Chocolate Day! (That’s today, in case you weren’t keeping track.)
Grub Street reports that Rubin’s new project, The Wonderbon Chocolate Co., will be 100% focused on all things cacao, which, naturally, includes the hot chocolate. He and his partner have signed a three-month lease on a counter-service espresso bar located on the formerly bustling retail graveyard that is Bleecker Street. Rubin says he will serve a rotating menu of up to eight hot chocolate flavors a day; between 5 and 7 p.m., half of them will be available spiked with the finest of hooches. In recent weeks he’s been formulating all-new recipes for truffles, tartines, puddings, and other chocolate-y delights. Sadly, the signature marshmallow that crowned many a City Bakery hot chocolate will not be found at Wonderbon, thanks to the shop’s tiny kitchen. As a replacement, Rubin has created a fine selection of bespoke whipped creams.
While there’s no certainty that the Wonderbon shop will continue past the end of its lease, in the grand scheme of Rubin’s plans, it doesn’t matter. The real dream, he says, is to create a retail line of packaged, ready-to-drink hot chocolate under the Wonderbon banner. Considering Rubin’s discerning palate and the access he has to the world’s best chocolate producers, I am fully ready to start stockpiling as much Wonderbon mix as I can fit into my doomsday bunker.