ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Having moved into Nickels Arcade mid-November, Detroit-based Bon Bon Bon has added its unique bonbons to Ann Arbor’s sweet treats scene.
When it was founded in 2014 by Alexandra Clark, the chocolate brand operated out of the back of a diner. Now it has opened up its third location, and it’s first outside of Metro Detroit.
Through email, Clark said she’s always wanted a spot in the historic shopping arcade.
“My sister went to U of M and I used to ‘escape’ to Ann Arbor from the ‘burbs as much as I could. We’d eat cheap-o Chinese food and then go get a fancy expensive dessert somewhere. It really made an impact,” wrote Clark, who grew up halfway between Ann Arbor and Detroit.
“I remember specifically picking out Nickels Arcade as my dream location for baby Bon Bon Bon before it was born and although it took a long time to get there, and it hasn’t always been cute, the journey has been really fun and made landing here even more special.”
She said there wasn’t just one particular thing about Nickels that made her want to move-in.
“The better question is ‘is there anything about Nickels Arcade that doesn’t make me want to have a chocolate shop there?’ and the answer is no,” she said, adding that neighboring businesses have welcomed her and the chocolate brand.
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Bon Bon Bon is known for its unique, creative and experimental flavor combinations ranging from fruity and tangy to sweet, salty and hot. While none are directly linked to Tree Town, Clark said many of the flavors are indirectly inspired by her experiences here.
“A good part of my early culinary education and inspiration happened off Main Street or in Kerrytown (I’m looking at you, Eve, Heather, Billy, Ko family). Ann Arbor is the first place I ever had food that was truly art and I was totally taken by it,” said Clark.
“When I was travelling as a chocolatier I kept coming to understand that when I expressed myself in chocolate, it always came off as an odd balance of high-quality quirk and midwestern practicality. That doesn’t resonate everywhere, but it certainly feels at home here.”
Flavor combinations include strawberry and balsamic, bourbon-based bons, peanut butter and jelly, s’mores, cider and donuts, and salty sap among many tasty others.
Clark said she doesn’t necessarily have a favorite Bon, but she finds herself eating the Mustachio the most often. She is a big fan of the Cereal Killer Bon, which she described as “a perfect piece of chocolate and so clearly Bon Bon Bon’s take or take against the cereal milk fad, depending on if you’re a cereal milk purist.”
She also mentioned the Cherry Lux, which is “everything that has ever been wrong with the cherry cordials your grandpa ate, and I am proud of that. That needed to happen,” according to Clark.
“So many [Bons] have signatures of friends and family of Bon Bon Bon or myself, and so when I revisit one, I remember, and then as I am lost in this soft whispy memory of fun, I am often zapped back to earth by the quick realization that ‘by god, we make really good chocolate!’”
Community members can pick up Bons at the new location, or order for delivery through Doordash, Grubhub, UberEats and Postmates.
Visit the Ann Arbor Bon Bon Bon in the Nickels Arcade at 365 S. State St.