The Bissinger’s name has long been associated with chocolate, but the company’s sister companies offer so much more. At Handcrafted by Bissinger’s, owned and operated by 23 City Blocks Hospitality Group, you can enjoy 100 percent from-scratch fare, a full bar — including a “wine wall” — and an outdoor lounge area perfect for sipping through the afternoons and into the bustling nightlife scene of the Central West End.

If you haven’t heard of a wine wall, rest assured that you’re not alone. This relatively new concept is a great way to try many different wines without committing to a full glass. The wine wall consists of three modules — one for whites, another for Old World reds and one for New World reds —offering pours of two, four or six ounces.

“Some people aren’t as educated about wine, so they feel nervous asking about things like that,” General Manager Stephen Bleisch says, adding the wine wall is perfect way to learn at your own pace. “Guests can grab a glass, bring it to the machine, insert a card [provided by a staff member] and choose their pour. They can help themselves, and a tab runs on that card, then they pay when they’re ready to leave.”

The wine wall will feature several new wines this spring and summer too. “We’re going to have some really cool stuff, including some new red blends from California,” Beisch says. “A major one is Jayson by Pahlmeyer; it’s a Napa red blend. It’s one of the big names, so we’re happy to have that here.”

The full bar is also debuting some additional thirst-quenching craft cocktails, including a Maryland Margarita, Hawaiian 75, Sidewalk Sangria and Summer Mule. “Nick Jovanovic, our vice president of operations, loves craft cocktails, so he has been fine-tuning our awesome bar program,” Bleisch says.

From left, the Maryland Margarita, a smoky margarita featuring artisanal Bozal Mezcal; the Hawaiian 75, a play on a French 75 but using hibiscus gin, grapefruit simple syrup and topped with sparkling rose; Sidewalk Sangria with brandy, white wine and house-made peach and lemon rind syrup; and the “insanely popular” Summer Mule, which comes in a copper mug with a snow cone effect and a raspberry mint shrub garnish to give it a summer twist.

With a full range of craft cocktails, food and desserts, Handcrafted by Bissinger’s is a great place to hang out in your free time.

“We’re in the thick of the Central West End, so there’s already a lot of activity buzzing around us,” Bleisch says. “The wine wall is fun for people to try, and the chocolate is a big draw since it pairs well with wine. People love it here because they can try a lot of things and buy just one piece of chocolate instead of a whole box.

“We’re a huge ‘date night’ location, especially with our patio.”

The patio seats approximately 16 to 20 and is a great place to sip on cocktails while enjoying the Central West End ambiance. “The best part is the way the sun hits the buildings in the summer — it’s shaded out there in the thick of the hot season,” Bleisch says. “That’s a huge bonus.”

Although about a third of the menu has switched up, you’ll still be able to get many of your Handcrafted favorites, including all the sandwiches that have been on the menu since it opened. “We’re 100 percent scratch at this point, so our devotion to the craft is certainly going into the new menu,” Executive Chef Nick Miller says.

New offerings include a morning bun, “a cross between a croissant and cinnamon roll,” Miller explains; spinach and artichoke dip, a classic dish perfect for sharing; gallettes, Irish cookie dough stuffed with house-made jams; French toast featuring house-made doughnut rolls; and protein packs with items such as granola, hardboiled eggs, quinoa salad and toasted nuts.

Handcrafted by Bissinger’s is at 32 Maryland Plaza. For more information, visit handcraftedbybissingers.com or call 314-367-7750. M

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Spinach and Artichoke Dip
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