The new Capital Candy Jar Shop (201 15th St. NE) is a joyful place.
The store’s owner, David Burton, stands in his new storefront, describing a job he held early in his working life as a ‘fudge singer’. The job, part performer, part confectioner for a major fudge retailer at a store in a shopping mall involved “singing, dancing and making fudge,” Burton said.
Burton describes the large ship’s bell, which employees rang to announce that it was ‘fudge time!’ As the fudge cooled on a large marble slab, the fudge singers folded it with large paddles. During the fifteen to twenty minute process, the ‘fudge singers’ performed fudge-themed jokes and songs.
Years later, he still remembers the words to some of the tunes. Standing in the middle of vibrantly colored candy displays, Burton regales customers with a lyric sung to the tune of George Michael’s hit song, ‘Faith’.
Well, I guess it would be nice
If I could taste your fudge
I know not every fudge
Is a fudge like yours
But I gotta think twice
Before I break my diet
I know all the fudge to taste
Cause I’ve tasted them too.
‘Cause you gotta have fudge, fudge, fudge.”
Burton brings that same playfulness to the Capital Candy Jar, the candy company he founded three and a half years ago. In that short time, the confectioner, popular for dipped Oreo cookies, s’mores and ‘clouds’ —a flavored marshmallow with a generous lick of salted caramel, covered in dark or milk chocolate — has made his wares available in over 30 stores and 40 hotels in the District.
Burton said Capital Candy Jar has dipped more than 65,000 Oreos and covered about 55,000 pretzels in chocolate over the last twelve months, and does specialty orders for weddings, corporate events and fundraisers.
During the company’s first three years, Capital Candy Jar made all its treats at the Union Kitchen, the District food incubator located at 1369 New York Ave. NE. When Burton realized that he needed to find a larger production space, he decided it was also time to open a storefront.
“People had been asking us, where can I buy your candy?” he said. “They were happy to pick it up at the many retailers that carry it, but they also wanted to be able to come into our own store.”
Burton’s new store carries the Capital Candy Jar staples, including dipped Oreos, chocolate-covered pretzels and clouds, as well as treats created by other candy-makers, such as multi-colored truffles from Birnn Chocolates of Vermont and salt water taffy from a candy shop in Ocean City.
“It’s a nice mix of stuff that we make and stuff from fairly local vendors,” says Burton.
The shop also sells a selection of pastries from Soft Stuff as well as hot and cold java in partnership with Zeke’s Coffee.
Zeke’s Coffee has a special place in the history of Capital Candy Jar, Burton said. When he was working on plans for the company, he had meetings at the Rhode Island Coffee Shop.
“When I called John [Kepner, owner of Zeke’s Coffee at 2300 Rhode Island Ave. NE] up and said we wanted to partner with them, he said ‘I remember when Capital Candy Jar was just an idea on a napkin in the front of my shop,” Burton recounted.
“Flavored shots are free,” he said, referencing coffee sold at the candy shop. “We wanted to keep the candy theme.”
Burton says he hopes that Capital Candy Jar will become a neighborhood gathering place. In the spring, he hopes to install outdoor patio seating and add ice cream to the menu. “I want this to be a neighborhood gathering space, where people come with their kids to get an ice cream and hang out on Sundays,” he said. He hasn’t decided if it will be hard, scooped ice cream or multiple flavors of soft-serve. Those decisions are well down the road, he says.
Capital Candy Jar will have their Grand Opening Celebration Friday September 22nd through Sunday September 24th. All day long during the grand opening they will be giving away free candy samples as well free hot and cold brew coffee. In addition, during the Grand Opening weekend, each day the first 50 customers to make a purchase will receive a free two-piece box of gourmet chocolate truffles.
You can also congratulate the confectioners at the H Street Festival this Saturday September 16th. The Capital Candy Jar will be there, making their famous giant s’mores, offering a choice of six flavors of marshmallows and four flavors of chocolate all prepared on site using an artfully deployed blowtorch. No word on whether a s’mores-themed song will be delivered with the outsized gooey treat — Burton himself will be present for only a short time, as he celebrates his birthday that day.
The Capital Candy Jar (201 15th St. NE at Constitution Avenue) is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Burton notes that hours will be tweaked in the coming months.