Located in the heart of our nation’s capital and steps from Chinatown, Co Co. Sala is a boutique chocolate bar and restaurant that soothes the senses and serves as a date spot and people watching heaven after work or on weekends.
I don’t live in Washington, D.C. but during a visit there in March 2009, I happened to visit it with Andy Krzmarzick after we presented at a government workshop.
Lovisa Williams, who works for the State Department, invited us; she was celebrating her birthday and invited some friends, including Andy and me. In turn, I invited Craig Kessler and Tracy Johnson to come. Among the goverati attending Lovisa’s bash were Mark Drapeau and Amanda Eamich from D.C., and Dominic Campbell and Justin Kerr-Stevens from London. Aaron Brazell and Justin Herman made a cameo appearance.
It was fun, I enjoyed the location, and I later wrote a review on the restaurant’s Yelp page:
If 121 reviews (when I add another) is not indicative of the popularity of a chocolate bar, then you tell me a better metric. Maybe more reviews?
I can’t comment on the food, the table service, or the DJing. The drinks were pricey, at $13 or so for martinis and other gourmet drinks. The cocotini was delicious, as was the “cucumber drink,” some vodka- or rum-spiked concoction that included soaked cucumbers.
I visited the bar (or maybe it’s a restaurant, I suppose?) on a Thursday night and, suffice to say, it was a good thing there was a large group of women in my group.
See, it’s a chick bar. I only needed to glance down a long row of square tables to observe about 20 women and no men. If you like women, it’s a great place to people-watch and flirt.
You’d think the story ends there. So did I…
Three months later, co-owner Bharet Malhotra sent me a Yelp message (not unlike a Facebook message, a built-in messaging system that provides for anonymity and separation from email clutter) and thanked me for the review.
My name is Bharet and I am one of the two owner’s of Co Co. Sala..
First, I would like to thank you for your feedback (I liked it and yes, we get a lot of ladies here) and I also would like to apologize for the delay in getting back to you. This reponse is waaaay overdue…! One of the very first lessons I learned once I joined the working world was to deal with client problems immediately by facing people, looking them in the eye and doing whatever you could to make things right. I never pass off critical comments as insignificant and I truly appreciate what you had to say about your Co Co Sala experience. To be honest, I just didn’t know appropriate protocol with respect to responding to reviewers but I committed that after our first year, I would engage with our customers…both happy and more importantly, unhappy.
I think what you said is certainly fair with respect to the price! I have certainly heard people say in the past that certain items are on the pricier side and I do agree with you….as you can imagine, we use the highest end of ingredients with nothing being compromised at all. Trust me, sometimes I ask the chef “why can’t we use good quality but less expensive stuff…I mean, who can tell the difference” and quite correctly, my chef says “I can”…if you consider the garnishes in our drinks (and we don’t use any rail liquor), the displays, the type of butter, etc. that we use, it is all the extra step we take to make sure that when you see it, you are like “wow, how thoughtful”
I know you are not based in DC but should you come back, please do get in touch with me…it would be a pleasure to meet you and your friends who are based in DC. I’d love to do whatever I can to make Co Co. Sala a fantastic experience for them.
Thanks for your comments and I hope to meet you and hear from you.
I’ve reviewed dozens of restaurants and other locations on Yelp and this is the first time an owner or manager personally replied within the system. I’ve received personal thank yous in person, such as the time the owner of the Purple Onion Cafe in Newburyport offered me complimentary chips and salsa, or when the manager of the Upper Crust Pizzeria shook my hand; but a Yelp message? A first.
I saw the message last week (three months after he sent it, as I don’t check the system messages often) and thanked him, asking Bharet for permission to reproduce his letter here. He said yes.
Sure, the place is on Twitter and Facebook but that’s not the point. The co-owner responded to my Yelp review and was personable about it, offering responses point by point; and desiring to meet me the next time I’m in the area.
If only other business owners can be as knowledgeable about social media as Bharet for Co Co. Sala. If you’re a business owner and would like to converse with your customers online, what are you waiting for? Contact me today!