Lee Sims, Chocolate Worth Waiting For

It’s not as though Valentine’s Day just sneaks up on you, leaving you no excuse but to purchase chocolates on the very holiday itself! Yet this morning at lee Sims on Bergen Avenue, the line stretched out the doorway far before opening time at 10 am. Folks traveled from all over New Jersey, some were former Jersey City residents raised on this tradition; some lived around the block but all waited patiently in the brisk morning air.

“I’m here for the chocolate covered strawberries. They’re freshest if you buy them on the actual day!”
“Me too,” added a police officer. “I’m getting the strawberries.”

The gentleman at the head of the line said he had been waiting since 8:30. “Yeah, I could have gone yesterday or last week… but I kind of like chatting with everyone here.”

“I do this every single year,” added another smiling patron. “It’s a tradition.”

Lee Sims Chocolates is indeed a traditional chocolate shop that dates back four generations. Candies are handmade in a nearby custom-designed facility and each confection is like biting into a heavenly creation. Their signature creamy milk chocolate has the perfect melt-in-your-mouth consistency – pure perfection on its own. Imagine that wrapped around chewy caramel and a mouthful of pecans or a chunk of fresh coconut…it is like tasting the sublime.

The Line for Candy at Lee Sims

The Line for Candy at Lee Sims

The owner, Valerie Vlahakis, was all smiles on this busy morning.

“I love this day in particular,” she explained while expertly wrapping a mini box of candy. “Now that we have a doorman maintaining order it’s no longer stressful. And the people on the line – they all know each other and have been coming here on Valentine’s Day for years now.”

After a quick survey I learned that many on line had never ventured into the dark chocolate category – probably scared off by the Hershey’s Dark they chowed down from their Halloween bag many years ago. Lee Sims’ dark chocolate, I felt compelled to explain, is in a class all its own; it brings a special, subtle sweetness that has not a trace of bitterness, yet contains a rich, full-bodied delight that one might liken to robust coffee.

Take the journey when there is no holiday in sight and you’re bound to feel like Charlie entering the magic of Mr. Wonka’s Chocolate Factory – bring a kid, you might get a free chocolate pop, but no Oompa-Loompa surprises. This charming little storefront sits close to Journal Square and is reachable by car, bus or PATH.

They take corporate orders and ship anywhere. The store is located at 743 Bergen Avenue and they can be reached at 201-433-1308. For more information visit them at  leesimschocolates.com.

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Jayne Freeman

is the host of the long-time public access show Mamarama as seen locally on Comcast Cable (channel 51) and on YouTube. In addition to her parenting program she is a certified childbirth educator and regularly writes about the parental experience.