Husband-and-wife duo Mark Libertini and Rachel Marni Kellner took over Aigner Chocolates in Forest Hills in October 2015, and updated the shop while maintaining its Austrian and German roots with longer hours, new shapes, and more menu options beyond chocolate.
Aigner Chocolates is a family business that has been around since the 1950s. After three generations, the Aigner family decided to retire the shop—that’s when Libertini and Kellner stepped in to take over.
“I had an idea for opening a chocolate shop for about 15 years before we took over Aigner’s,” Libertini said. “It’s been really interesting learning the old Austrian and German-style confection making, which is kind of a lost art form here in the United States these days.”
Besides making improvements to the paint, furniture, and cosmetics of the shop, they have extended store hours and added more coffee offerings to the menu to appeal to an after-dinner crowd. They also started making Star Wars and Lego-shaped chocolates with plans to use more molds to make fun characters.
Libertini went to culinary school in Boston and specialized in pastry art, but had always had dreams of opening a chocolate shop. After working and owning restaurants throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn, he knew it was time to follow these aspirations saw Aigner Chocolates was for sale while passing by on Metropolitan Avenue.
The couple also collaborated with Nick’s Bistro, a neighboring Greek restaurant, in April to create a chocolate silk dessert and have taken initiatives to host local artists during their later evenings.
“The customer base has been so receptive to Mark and I taking over the business and all of our new ideas,” Kellner said. “Mark and I are really looking forward to expanding and seeing what can happen here.
Aigner Chocolates is located at 103-02 Metropolitan Ave in Forest Hills. For more information call 718-544 1850 or visit aignerchocolates.com.
Young customers purchase sweets from Aigner Chocolates.
Photo by Julia Strapko
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