Cityscape

Award-winning chocolatier is leaving the Plaza and headed to Leawood for expansion

The Country Club Plaza has had a locally owned chocolatier for four decades.

But later this month, Panache Chocolatier will shut its doors and relocate to a much larger space in Leawood.

“As we approached the end of our lease and were given different opportunities to relocate on the Plaza, we thought we should also look at other opportunities, too,”’ said Derrick House, owner of Panache with his wife, Julie. “Park Place has charming streets and local boutiques. We believe we will feel at home there.”

The Plaza shop, at 418 Nichols Road, is scheduled to close on Aug. 29 and then reopen in Park Place, 11555 Ash St., in late September.

In December, the Plaza submitted a plan to take the 957-square-foot space at 418 Nichols Road and convert it into a portal for an office tenant that would occupy a 31,554-square-foot space on the second-level. Plaza officials declined to comment specifically about the space.

But in a statement, Kasey Vena, marketing and sponsorship director for the Plaza, said, “We appreciate the time that Panache has operated at Country Club Plaza and wish Julie and Derrick well in their future endeavors.”

The new shop in Leawood will offer the Panache chocolate line including its award-winning truffles, wines by Kansas City’s Amigoni Urban Winery, chocolate-infused cocktails, Parisi Artisan Coffee, house-made pastries and desserts. It also will have seasonal offerings including ice cream in the summer and hot chocolate in the winter. Panache has received several awards from the International Chocolate Salon.

Mallory Baxter, a master chocolatier, has been with the shop since 2015 and will relocate to Park Place.

The larger Leawood space also will allow for events including tastings and private parties. Hours will be 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday; and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.

The founders of Panache first opened a shop at 4709 Central Ave. called Kron Chocolatier in 1979. They changed the name to Panache Chocolatier in 1983, and it was known for its truffles, chunk chocolate cookies, and Choco Poppo (popcorn with chunk chocolate).

They later had locations in Bannister Mall and Hawthorne Plaza in Overland Park. Both have since closed.

The founders sold the company to a Lenexa couple in 2007. The current owners purchased it in 2013.

“We’ve enjoyed our years on the Plaza and many of the relationships we’ve built during that time,” Derrick House said.

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Joyce Smith has covered restaurant and retail news for The Star since 1989 under the brand Cityscape. She appreciates news tips.
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