Chocolate Lab closes new location less than five months after reopening

Chocolate Lab has expired. Denver’s only chocolate-centric restaurant closed its Hilltop location last month.

Owner Phil Simonson declined to comment. But he responded to a customer’s Google review last month, stating, “Unfortunately due to the current employment issues and the increased costs of operating, I had to make the tough decision to close down,” he wrote. “I am sorry you were not able to enjoy the amazing creations we once had.”

Chocolate Lab reopened in a new, larger space with a new look in the Hilltop neighborhood in February this year after closing its original location on East Colfax a year ago.

The 32-seat restaurant, which incorporated chocolate in each of its dishes, tripled the size of its kitchen and doubled the size of the bar from its previous location. It also had a new dedicated retail space where customers can buy truffles, peanut brittle, toffee and other chocolate creations.

Simonson originally started Chocolate Lab in 2010, selling homemade truffles, using a recipe his husband created, at farmer’s markets around town. After gaining some traction, he was able to open up the original chocolate shop in 2016 within his friend’s cheese shop, New World Cheese. When the cheese shop closed the next year, Simonson decided to lean into his chocolate creations and use the extra space for his sweet-and-savory restaurant.

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