Bishop Arts staple Dude, Sweet Chocolate is packing up and moving

Thankfully not far, though.

“Welcome to chaos,” Katherine Clapner said, standing in the empty, freshly painted front room of a 120-year-old house in the heart of Bishop Arts.

The Dallas chef and creative force behind Dude, Sweet Chocolate is in the throes of ushering her chocolate shop — a steadfast fixture in the neighborhood — into a new era. By July 1, “come hell or high water,” she’ll close the chocolate shop she started in a brick storefront on Eighth Street in 2009 and reopen it in the little Victorian house down the road.

Picture it, she said: Shelves lined with chocolates in the front room. Tastings held around a table in the sunny back room with a record player setting the mood. Families roasting s’mores and drinking hot chocolate around the patio fire pit in the winter. The front porch decked out for Halloween. A chocolate Easter egg hunt in the yard in spring.

Dude, Sweet Chocolate owner Katherine Clapner (right) and longtime manager Eddie Murphy
Dude, Sweet Chocolate owner Katherine Clapner (right) and longtime manager Eddie Murphy(Smiley N. Pool / Staff Photographer)
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“This space is going to be insane at Christmas,” Clapner said, wiping her hands on her paint-flecked overalls. “People who know me know I go a little berserk. You’ll never know what I’m going to do to the house.”

The quaint blue home, a relic from the neighborhood’s past, sits on the corner of Eighth Street and Bishop Avenue — about as central as it gets in Bishop Arts. It’s had many lives, but it most recently housed a clothing store. It seems only fitting that one of Bishop Arts’ oldest and most recognizable buildings will house one of its longest operating retailers. The quirk and charm of the space are a smart match for the personality-packed shop known for its ever-changing menu of sweets like truffles, chocolate salami and fudge.


Clapner’s excitement over her new space is palpable. So is her anxiety. There’s landscaping to be done, cement flooring to be poured, rotting wood to be replaced, wallpaper to be hung and equipment to be moved. The list goes on.

“I’ve got a very short time frame to pull this off,” she said, with dirt on her brow from the mulch she had just spread in the yard. “I’ve been doing everything myself and I’ve got to get some help.”

Asking people for money to help fund the renovation and relocation didn’t feel right, so Clapner is selling chocolates, classes and tickets to events at the chocolate shop to raise funds. She’s hit 20% of her goal of $35,000, she said.


Why the tight deadline to make the move? Well, she said, her lease is almost up and the house unexpectedly became available. It was too perfect of a space to pass up, she said, and she and her team have needed new energy.

“It’s easy to get complacent when you’re in the same place all the time,” she said.

They need a change in foot traffic, too, she added. On Saturdays, Bishop Avenue buzzes with activity, but it doesn’t quite spill over to the pocket where Dude, Sweet Chocolate sits, Clapner said.

“We’re on our own little island over there,” she said.

That island formed in 2020 when the widely lauded Italian restaurant Lucia moved out of the space next door and into another building on Bishop Avenue. Traffic at the chocolate shop has never been the same since, Clapner said.

“I can’t imagine in my wildest dreams it won’t be better over here,” she said of the new space. “It’s just a great spot for a chocolate shop.”

Dude, Sweet Chocolate will move from 408 W. Eighth St., #102 to 336 W. Eighth St. in Dallas. It is expected to open in the new location by July 1, 2024.