River Forest resident opens Lake Street chocolate shop

Owner 'fell in love' when she studied chocolate arts

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By Devin Rose

Staff Reporter

Donna Slepicka is on a mission to make the lives of River Foresters a little bit sweeter, and, so far, it seems like her new shop is doing just that.

Slepicka opened the village's newest business, River Forest Chocolates, on March 31 and she said customers are keeping her busy. She makes her own molded chocolates and will eventually have about 25 different flavors of truffles, caramels, creams and toffee.

She also makes specialty confections, such as S'mores — marshmallow pops between chocolate mint graham crackers. All her goodies are made with fresh ingredients and no preservatives, she said.

"I think I offer really fine, handcrafted chocolates with the best of ingredients," she said. She's been cooking and baking her whole life and also worked as a substitute teacher for River Forest School District 90.

Slepicka said her 19-year-old daughter, Lia, provided the encouragement she needed to go back to school in the last couple years. When her daughter was getting ready to go to college, her mom did the same at Triton College. She originally planned to study artisan breads.

But instead, "I just fell in love with chocolate," Slepicka said. She studied the art under chocolatier Uzma Shariff.

For the last year, she's been working out of a commercial kitchen she rented in Melrose Park. But as the number of booked events continued to grow, so did the need for a bigger space. The amount of equipment to transport from her Franklin Avenue home to the kitchen didn't help either.

She wrote up a business plan to make sure the numbers worked out, and a space opened up at 7577 Lake St. The building's open floor plan allows customers to see the chocolate being made.

When she's a little more settled, Slepicka said she'd like to offer truffle-making classes. She's taken a lot of them in Chicago and wants to show home cooks that they really can make their own treats. She's also planning to give 20 percent of her sales to charity.

For information about River Forest Chocolates, visit the website at www.riverforestchocolates.com or call 708-203-9337.

Reader Comments

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River Forest Chocolates from River Forest, Illinois  

Posted: April 17th, 2012 10:39 AM

I want to thank everyone for the wonderful response to the opening of my shop. The outpouring from local residents has been amazing. I want to give a really big thank you to the Village of River Forest, Eric Palm. VM and Mike Braiman, AVM as wll as the many trustees who have supported, encouraged and help make my opening possible. Could not have done it without the support of you all. They say "It takes a Village" and it did. Thank you all! My retail hours are: T-F 11-5 Sat 10-2 Or by appointment. 708-203-9337 I look forward to sharing my passion for chocolate confections with you all.

Lori from River Forest  

Posted: April 16th, 2012 4:20 PM

What a wonderful shop with beautifully crafted, creative goodies. Congrats Donna!

RF Achievement  

Posted: April 14th, 2012 9:31 AM

@ Trustee Romeo - please tell RF residents WHY you made this comment. RFPD sent email to RF Township for a relationship between the RFPD & the RFCC. You recommended responding to say "Township is a separate entity from the RFCC, and that the Park District should contact the RFCC for further discussions" It is Clear now to all residents that you are the one holding the full village & all Residents hostage to your sophomoric antics. Get with it, government needs to cooperate, not castigate.

RF Achievement  

Posted: April 13th, 2012 5:06 PM

Economic Development the old fashion way. I wonder if the village board is listening and reading about this story. All they need to do is REACH out in their own community and form a good ole fashion commission - and that old group will come up with some ideas and contacts to create what is missing and needed in RF. Is this not easier than paying a consultant 75K a year for a website - and 125K a year for a village admin that has produced nothing? It sure would help all the RF taxpayers.

Annemarie Valenti from River Forest  

Posted: April 11th, 2012 9:58 PM

I stopped in just before Easter and picked up hostess gifts, treats for the baskets and some wonderful chocolate covered almonds for out of town guests. Everything was absolutely delicious and packaged so beautifully! This is a delightful addition to Lake Street and to our community. Congratulations Donna - we'll be back soon!

doc walsh from wooddale  

Posted: April 11th, 2012 8:09 PM

will be coming in to check choclate john and marilyn walsh

Lisa Krusinski from River Forest  

Posted: April 11th, 2012 1:50 PM

What a great addition to Lake Street and River Forest! Best wishes for continued success!

Janet Cunningham  

Posted: April 11th, 2012 7:53 AM

Congratulations, Donna! This is so exciting - looking forward to more of your "soon to be famous" toffee!

Kathy Quaid from River Forest  

Posted: April 11th, 2012 6:51 AM

So proud of Donna! Isn't RF lucky to have our own chocolatier, who is providing us with wonderful sweets. Try the sea salt caramels ~ the best ever.

RF Achievment  

Posted: April 11th, 2012 5:52 AM

Great story, congratulations. Now this is Economic Development, the old fashion way. Our government would not know this if it tried.

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