3 Hanover Square, New York, NY 10004
Open 7am-6pm, Monday-Friday
American pronunciation: Lee-oh-nae-das; European pronunciation: Lee-oh-knee-das
A quaint blue awning is nestled just around the corner from Leo’s Bagels, looking over Queen Elizabeth II Park at Hanover Square in the Financial District.
Although most people pass by it everyday without ever noticing the shop name, “Leonidas Fresh Belgian Chocolates” is blazoned in white across the bright blue.
There is more to this little shop than meets the eye. Featuring a chocolate counter and a coffee bar complete with a few tables, Leonidas is the perfect stop for your work or school commute pick me up.
“Good morning, Julietta!” I chime as I stroll past the counter of gourmet chocolates. I’ve been coming here regularly on my way to class for almost a year now.
Her face lights up at the sound of her name, “Good morning Olivia! How are you today?” Julietta moved here from Mexico to help her sister with her new baby twelve years ago.
Up the steps in the back, Patricia says hello from behind the coffee bar. “You want tea again this morning?” She knows I don’t like coffee, so I smile and confirm my regular order.
A Short History:
Leonidas Kestikides was a Greek confectioner who won a gold medal for his fine chocolates at the Ghent World Exhibition in 1913. After his death, his nephew, Basile took over in 1935 and incorporated Leonidas, the legendary king of Sparta, into part of the logo as a tribute to his uncle. With a workshop now located in Brussels, Belgium, Basile established a renowned company that values freshness, generosity and heritage to this day. All of the chocolates for sale in the NYC shop are imported directly from the main location in Belgium. (“Sometimes, they don’t always make it in one piece,” Julietta chuckles.)
What you should know:
The chocolates are delicious. That’s a given. They each cost $1.50, perfect for a “treat yourself” sweet, without the guilt of overpaying.
Staff pick: Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel
The drinks are reasonably priced, a small tea is $2.50. (I recommend Earl Grey or Peppermint)
Most importantly, with the purchase of a coffee or other drink, you get a free chocolate! Your choice between dark, milk or white chocolate.
TLDR: Buy a coffee (or tea), get a free chocolate. This place is an instant win.