Bottle That Chocolate!

Markeshia Ricks PhotoYou 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.

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posted by: ILivehere on October 20, 2016  8:13am

This guy may want to read the liquor laws. If he gets the permit it would be illegal for him to buy from the package store. He would have to buy from a licensed distributor like Eder or Hartley.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on October 20, 2016  8:31am

Sorry to say.But he will be gone in about five years due to high rents.

posted by: gmlb61 on October 20, 2016  12:35pm

FYI to ILivehere - the CT gift basket law specifically requires that the holder of a gift basket permit, like this one, can only purchase from a a package store. They are not permitted to buy it from a wholesaler/distributor.

In the case of wines sold in gift baskets, “such wine shall only be purchased by such permit holder from the holder of a package store permit”

That law can be found here: 

I suspect he has read the liquor laws, given that his comment is exactly in line with the legal requirements. I also suspect that the board that approved this variance also read the law and understood that he was indicating that he would comply with said gift basket law.

There’s a lot of nuances to these laws, to say the least.

posted by: Bill Saunders on October 20, 2016  1:11pm

Lyric Hall has a tavern license to serve wine and beer…...  why not this guy????

posted by: ILivehere on October 20, 2016  2:47pm

The article says he’s looking for a package store permit. I don’t think gift baskets have the local 1500 ft zoning issue.

@bill Saunders
If he were looking for an on premis permit there would be no distance requirement.