Wendy and Brandon Buckner started The Hot Chocolatier in 2008 inside the Tennessee Small Business Development Center located along the North Shore area of downtown Chattanooga. Upon moving back to their native hometown of Chattanooga, the couple wanted to introduce the area to experiences they had gathered from various cities where they had lived or visited while either attending school or traveling abroad. After visiting a number of shops & production facilities in Paris, France, and Belgium as part of a travel study through a MakeWork grant, Wendy and Brandon felt that Chattanooga needed something of an artisan chocolate/gourmet dessert boutique-style shop to call their own. These kinds of shops exist in San Francisco, New York, Chicago, and Atlanta; so why not in Chattanooga too?
In August, 2011, The Hot Chocolatier moved to Chattanooga’s Southside and opened their first proper retail shop/working kitchen at the corner of Main and Williams Street. With the move came some great changes; such as a split kitchen to allow hot and cold items to be made at the same time. The Hot Chocolatier’s menu expanded beyond truffles and bonbons to in-house gourmet pastries, desserts, and chocolate/espresso/coffee drinks.
In Spring of 2014, the shop re-located to 1437 Market Street, directly across from the historic Chattanooga Choo-Choo Hotel. This location offers The Hot Chocolatier more retail space and seating for customers looking to treat themselves! Ever dreamt of sipping a decadent European Sipping Chocolate or Frozen Mocha Frappe outdoors on a patio? Then this location has you covered.
The 1st of May 2023 marked a very special day as The Hot Chocolatier expanded with a second location into the historic St Elmo area - adjacent to downtown Chattanooga. Chocolate production moved into the St Elmo facility and pastry production split up to meet the needs of both shops. More and more changes are to come as The Hot Chocolatier adjusts to the surrounding community of St Elmo. Stay tuned on social media to keep up with exciting developments as they unfold!
Wendy Buckner: owner, chocolatier, & pastry chef, received her training at The French Pastry School in Chicago, IL. Wendy worked in several prominent patisseries and chocolate kitchens before developing The Hot Chocolatier. She also brings her training as a visual artist to her culinary experience.
Brandon Buckner: co-owner & chocolatier, received a MFA in Painting from The University of Iowa, Iowa City. Brandon has designed the logo, packaging, website, and promotional pieces throughout the years. As a small business owner, he can often be found working under a piece of equipment or on a ladder with tools in his hands.
The Hot Chocolatier would like to thank their hard-working employees, friends & family (who continue to freely volunteer their time when needed), and our local patrons who continue to spread the good news about good chocolate!