First business opens since Portland gas explosion in 2016, sweet - KPTV - FOX 12

First business opens since Portland gas explosion in 2016, sweet start for NW 23rd

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KPTV photo. KPTV photo.
KPTV photo. KPTV photo.
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

The first shop since the Northwest 23rd natural gas explosion in 2016 reopened Thursday night, giving a sweet start to a new beginning for the block.

Moonstruck Chocolate held its grand opening with an array of delicacies to sample as the company is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

Many at the opening Thursday said it was the perfect way to kick off a rebirth of the corner, and warned that if you walk through the door, you may never leave. 

“Oh, what did I not have? Peanut butter milkshake," Cleon Cox, a customer, said. "We had sipping chocolate, we’ve had a little bit of latte, dark chocolate raspberry latte."

And it may encourage the chocoholic in you, but be careful–or you might end up in a chocolate coma.

“I’m getting there, that’s why I’m sitting down now, I have to rest,” Cox said.

There are so many flavors and choices, it’s a true whirlwind for the taste buds.

“These things are what Oregon’s all about, wild huckleberry truffles; this is coolest thing ever, Luke Rideout, another customer at the opening Thursday, said. I'm going to eat one right now for you guys. Mmmm, the best."

And it’s been a tradition in Portland for years.

Manager James Ewing says there was a lot anticipation for the shop to reopen on the block.

“People were sticking their heads in the door, when are you going to open,” Ewing said. “Somebody’s in a cranky mood when they come in 99.9 percent of the time they’re not in a cranky mood when they leave because they’ve had some sort of treat like that.”

It’s a complete 180 degrees from the fire and rubble in October 2016.

Ewing says despite the destruction, the company saw it as an opportunity to revamp its style with innovative approaches that engage with the community.

Customers can now sample different chocolates in its “chocolate lab” and vote on them to give company feedback.

Customers can also take interactive classes in the “Moonstruck Academy", where you can learn the history of chocolate and receive cooking instructions too.

While some are indulging in this new beginning, Portland Firefighter Mel Watts, who responded to the explosion in 2016, is getting a taste of the sweet rebirth after an emergency that could’ve been much worse.

“We all felt very fortunate," Watts said. "We thought this is one of those events that for sure someone died. And to find out that everyone was able to make it out and survive was good. We feel like we take a vested interest in the neighborhood. You know we really do enjoy it downtown. There’s a few of us that really enjoy the atmosphere working in the Pearl. It’s really good to see that the people and the businesses are coming back.”

There are several other businesses who were impacted that have yet to reopen. FOX 12 will have updates when that happens in the future.

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