You won’t be able to have a glass of wine while you savor a piece of chocolate from a new Westville chocolate shop, but you can enjoy a whole bottle if you take it to go in a gift basket, thanks to a decision by the city’s zoning board.
The Board of Zoning Appeals made the vote Tuesday night, approving a variance to allow a package permit for the chocolate shop within striking distance of an existing package permit.
Chip in A Bottle owner and chef Darrell Nurse recently opened his sweets shop in the Westville Village at 837 Whalley Ave. He sought permission to sell gift baskets that feature his handcrafted chocolates and a bottle of wine. Because his business is 280 feet away from Westville Wines, he needed a variance from the board that would allow another permit in the less than the 1,500 feet that is required.
Nurse assured the board that his business would be a different type of operation completely from Westville Wines.
“It is a retail package store and actually one that we would purchase from,” he said Tuesday night. “So we’re not competition. I would purchase from the package store.”
West Hills/Amity Alder Richard Furlow, whose ward includes part of Westville Village, said that at first he was confused by the need for a liquor permit. Then he learned that it wasn’t a tavern license, because no alcohol would be consumed on the shop’s premises.
“The sales will be during the same hours that the package store is allowed to sell its alcohol,” he pointed out. “But it’s just for the sale of wine within gift baskets. I think this is going to be a wonderful addition to the Westville Village and community.”
Nurse’s landlord, Varsha Mehta, also spoke in support of his receiving the permit. She’s a familiar face at the BZA. Westville Wines once called 837 Whalley Ave. home, before it was home to Nurse’s chocolate shop. Prior to his chocolates moving in, Mehta wrangled with the owners of the wine shop after they moved and she sought to put another package store in its place.
She also butted heads with neighbors over the conversion of 837-841 Whalley Ave. into multiple storefronts with less parking.
“It’s nice to see such an operation coming to a local area,” she told the board. “I think Darrell is going to do phenomenal in the area and I hope everyone comes down to get some chocolates.”
With no opposition to Nurse’s permit, the BZA approved the variance unanimously.
One of the people who could be among Nurse’s future customers is BZA member Ben Trachten.
“I live in Westville, and I can’t wait to try some chocolate,” he said.