Downtown Plano just got whole a lot sweeter. Settling into its fourth location just a few weeks ago at 15th Street near K Avenue, Dude, Sweet Chocolate is way more than your average chocolate store, full of predictable treats wrapped in elaborate, sparkly packaging. Actually, it’s the antithesis of such.
Dude, Sweet’s founder, Dallas native and seasoned chef Katherine Clapner, is on a life-long adventure in pursuit of uniquely uncommon ingredients to blend into her whimsical confections. With the heart of a gypsy, she’s wildly curious about art, cultures, tastes, smells and all things consumable by the senses, which is why her menu is always adventurous, artistic, insanely delicious and in a constant state of change.
After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in NYC, Katherine Clapner studied at and worked her way through some of the top kitchens in the world, from Dallas and New Orleans (The Windsor Court Hotel), to Venice (Hotel Cipriani) and London (Savoy Hotel). Finally, she made her way back to Dallas to once again work with long-time friend and fellow chef, Stephan Pyles. (The pair have worked together on and off for more than a decade.)
At Dude, Sweet Chocolate, it’s not about flashy packaging, it’s all about the chocolate. Katherine explains, “Chocolate is an awesome carrier for flavors. It can take on tobacco, coffee, pork, florals, even blue cheese and totally fall in love with them!” (Side note: If flashy gift wrappings are what you desire, require or just can’t live without, they will make it happen–they say yes to just about anything.)
Perhaps you don’t even like chocolate, or so you think, because all you’ve ever had is some overly milky, candy-coated version of chocolate. Well, my Plano friends, I promise that all you need is one taste of the good (dude, the sweet) stuff and you’ll be hooked. While Dude, Sweet Chocolate carries some familiar items like fudge and truffles, you will also find unusual and delicious combinations of flavors with witty names to match. Not so sure about Fungus Amongus Soft Butter Toffee, Crack in a Box, or the Albatros Fudge with blue cheese? You can sample just about anything in the store. Be careful though, if you taste it, you’ll want to buy it.
We sat down with Katherine to learn a little more about the Plano outpost of Dude, Sweet Chocolate:
What brought you guys to Plano? We have a store in Ft. Worth, one in Bishop Arts in Oak Cliff and one on Greenville in Dallas, and we needed to go north. Downtown Plano had the right feel for who we are. It just felt right.
Where is the chocolate made? We have a space in the design district in downtown Dallas where we experiment, create and package our chocolate.
So, I have to ask, how did you come up with the name Dude, Sweet Chocolate? One of my best girlfriends, who has the best laugh you’ve ever heard, it’s infectious, says “dude” all the time. One evening we were hanging out, and this time when she said it, it just came to me–Dude, Sweet Chocolate. And that was it.
Are you working on any new menu items? I am always working on something new (she says with a smile). However, I am working on something very cool for Valentine’s Day. It’s going to be a limited edition, numbered, signed, and edible piece of art that is going to blow your mind.
Dude, Sweet Chocolate Website >