When Beau Monroe and Simon Brown started making chocolate together at the then-closed Liholiho Yacht Club on Nob Hill, most of us were unaware of everything. That was August 2020 and since then their online chocolate company Topogato has exploded. Now the two are taking the business even further with their first physical location. The store will be located at 701 Sutter Street, in a former Subway location – which the founders continually find amusing. “The hilarious thing is that Subway is so normcore,” Monroe laughs. “And our stuff is so niche. Two years ago, someone ordered a spicy Italian over there, you know? »
The location will only be used for production at first. But pickup orders, pop-ups in the coming months, and a full outlet over the next year are all on the vision board. It’s still not quite pretty (Monroe describes it as “pretty utilitarian” at the moment) and certainly not up to the typical aesthetic standards of both. In any case, Monroe is optimistic. “We’re going to grow in this space,” he says. The longtime designer and rare book lover teamed up with Brown, his neighbor and former LinkedIn pastry chef, in 2007. It took both of them losing their jobs during the pandemic to decide to go it alone, and they have managed to remain financially independent as sales continue to roll, much like old Karl the Fog himself – randomly but reliably.
The two have plans and ideas for events, but for now are focused on getting back to business. the company’s tempering machines were on stand-by for a few months during the move to the new space. The expansion comes as the Bay Area’s chocolate scene reaches new heights. Bayview J Street Chocolate has teamed up with another neighborhood store, Bloomstock, to sell a limited-edition flavor; mega-corporation Ghirardelli has just boldly entered the 21st century, redesigning its location in Ghirardelli Square; and Kokak Chocolates reminds everyone that being gay and eating chocolate is okay. For their part, the guys at Topogato will continue doing what they do best: making otherworldly (and tasting) chocolate. “Early on, we thought, ‘If this could work, that would be amazing,’” Monroe says. “It’s surreal. We feel really, really good.