I hadn't been to Tango in Piedmont for a while, so when I went in today, I was surprised to see a 7-11-style off-to-the-side-of-the-counter display of high-end chocolates. I asked how much the Valhrona was (the black bar with the red stripe, 71%), thinking I might save a trip to Trader Joe's, but the high school employee wearing the chef's jacket didn't know. No biggie. So this woman - the new owner? - brusquely told the employee he had to scan it for the price and equally brusquely informed us the bar was $6.50. When my boyfriend had a "wha?!" reaction to the price (we buy this bar at Trader Joe's for $3), the owner got super defensive and derisively informed us that TJs buys at lower prices.
Duh.... Trader Joe's has better leverage in terms of getting good wholesale prices. But unless she's buying them at TJs and reselling them, there's no way her mark-up isn't ridiculous. I think the same bars are $4 at the Bowl, which isn't exactly a major chain store.
With such a crappy-looking store and no place to sit down and no information about chocolates (like Bittersweet has!), why on earth would anyone buy chocolate bars at Lulu/Tango in Piedmont? Even the expensive Piedmont grocery has a lot to offer to make up for the prices - good selection, friendly employees, small-town charm. I am so mystified by this, but searches here and on Yelp mostly just show love for Lulu. Am I just a curmudgeon?
Also, has Tango's gelato changed a whole lot lately?
4184 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA