Nisha Sidhu, the co-owner of D.C.'s popular chocolate lounge, CoCo Sala, dishes on restaurant week, the first family, and her love of sweets.
You’re the co-owner of one the most popular restaurants in D.C. What made you decide to open here? I’ve been living here for 19 years, and when I thought of the concept to create a chocolate and coffee lounge I knew that it would fit this city perfectly.
Did you always want to work in the restaurant business?I've always had a love for baking, but it was not my career of choice at first. I started off as a bio-medical engineer, then I had a family, and when the kids were grown I realized I didn’t want to go back to engineering, but I really wanted to follow my passion: chocolate! I’m living my dreams, and I love it.
What makes CoCo Sala so unique? Everything. The entire dining experience is so different from anything most people have ever had. We make everything in house and our executive chef Santosh Tiptur oversees it all. It’s also all about the passion and inviting atmosphere that we provide. It’s such a rewarding experience.
Was your menu always chocolate-based? In the beginning, yes. However, as we grew so did the menu. [Executive chef] Santosh played a huge part in expanding our menu. You get great entrees, but our specialty is sweet and savory chocolate.
What can guests look forward to at this month’s restaurant week? Customers will love our frozen hot chocolate, our delicious salads -- perfect for summer -- a variety of coco bites and a yummy new dessert.
What’s your favorite part about restaurant week? I love to watch a new customer come in and taste our chocolate for the very first time.
The first family is known for trying out all sorts of eateries in D.C., What would you like to serve them if they came to CoCo Sala? Our multi-dessert tasting course would be great for the first family. It’s like a five-course meal but with dessert only. I know the First Lady is health conscious, but she’d love our small portion sizes.
You all have been open for two years now. What’s next for the restaurant? We’re currently in the process of opening up a chocolate shop right next door and in the process of expanding CoCo Sala into other cities. We’re so excited to share our love of great chocolate with the world.