The Scoop: Chocolate Pizza® is a chocolate lover’s playground located in Marcellus, New York. The menu includes a range of handcrafted treats piled with candies, dipped in chocolate, and bursting with flavor. Chocolate Pizza ships nationwide to satisfy cravings with gift basket deliveries. Couples can order the signature Chocolate Pizzas and Peanut Butter Wings to end a special date night on a sweet note and celebrate their relationship by sharing a slice of premium chocolate.
At age 15, Ryan Novak started working at Chocolate Pizza as a dishwasher with big dreams. Six years later, he was in the middle of his senior year at Syracuse University when he bought the New York chocolate shop and began transforming it into a national brand.
“We have grown exponentially since I became owner in 2010, and I am proud of what we are building,” Ryan said.
Ryan has faced many challenges in the business world, but he learned from a young age to overcome adversity and keep moving forward.
When Ryan was 9 years old, his mother was killed when a drug-impaired driver ran a stop sign. This devastating loss would shape Ryan’s life and motivate him to chase success with unswerving dedication.
“I made a promise the day mom died that I would make her proud. I grew up being resilient, focused, and driven because I had to be,” Ryan told us. “Those same qualities have made me a better leader, entrepreneur, and man.”
Today, Ryan is at the helm of Chocolate Pizza where he uses his creativity to develop unique treats that bring smiles to people celebrating birthdays, holidays, and relationship milestones.
Under Ryan’s leadership, the Chocolate Pizza menu has expanded from 12 to 150 chocolate creations, and any of them could make a perfect thinking-of-you gift for that special someone.
Decadent Treats & Gift Baskets Shipped Nationwide
Chocolate Pizza gets its name from its signature creation — a Swiss-style chocolate blended with homemade English toffee and poured into pizza pans to get that classic round shape. The chocolatiers offer whole “pizzas” and slices topped with a variety of candies or nuts, wrapped in cellophane, and served in a custom pizza box.
Couples can choose from several Chocolate Pizza varieties or create their own Chocolate Pizza with favorite ingredients and a personalized message to a loved one. It’s a sweet way to say “I love you” or “happy birthday,” and the slicable treat can be the perfect centerpiece for a date night or party.
Additionally, customers can pair their dessert pizzas with Peanut Butter Wings®, a salty-sweet snack made by dunking potato chips in peanut butter and milk or dark chocolate.
“It’s a culinary contradiction — ingredients that shouldn’t work together yet produce an exceptional sweet-salty balance that is our runaway bestseller,” Ryan said. “Our ‘pizza and wings’ concept has reimagined the traditional box of chocolates.”
The Chocolate Pizza team takes pride in creating signature items that are unique, delicious, and impressive. Every year, the company uses tons of chocolate (the equivalent of 11 T-Rex dinosaurs) to make mouthwatering morsels and eye-catching desserts. In fact, if you laid the Chocolate Pizzas made in a year end to end, they would span the Grand Canyon, and if you stacked the Peanut Butter Wings, they could reach the cruising altitude of a jumbo jet.
“I’m proud of the quality and creativity that are hallmarks of our chocolate gifts but even more proud that our products have become part of a tradition for thousands of people across the country,” Ryan said. “Year after year, we are their go-to gift-of-choice for holidays, birthdays, weddings, and special occasions.”
The Chocolate Shop Continues to Innovate & Grow
Chocolate Pizza has been around for decades and has established a good reputation in the Marcellus community — and now it’s ready to bring its signature treats to a larger audience. Once Ryan took over as owner and CEO, Chocolate Pizza began rapidly growing into a national brand.
Ryan has tapped on the talent in his own family to make the business a success. His father helps out on everything from web design to human resources, and his wife provides guidance as a financial advisor. Ryan’s younger brother works at Chocolate Pizza as assistant shipping manager, and Ryan’s stepmother runs production and is the company’s top chocolatier.
“Family is at the heart of Chocolate Pizza Company and that defines our culture,” Ryan said. “I love coming to work because I’m surrounded by family and people who feel like family.”
That workplace family includes Ryan’s retail director who joined the company just after he bought the business over a decade ago.
Additionally, Ryan relies on a small army of high school juniors and seniors to work seasonally at Chocolate Pizza. Ryan said he makes an effort to create a supportive environment for young people entering the workforce for the first time.
“I know the importance of that first real-world job, so I make it a priority to give local youth the same opportunity I had when I was in high school,” he said. “Many come back from college during summers or breaks to keep working with us, which I always consider a compliment and reflection on our close-knit culture.”
In 2015, Ryan built a 10,000-square-foot production facility two miles from the original chocolate shop’s location, and he’s now looking to add another 3,000 square feet to accommodate increased production needs. In 2020, Chocolate Pizza sales increased 300%, and Ryan expects to see further growth in 2021 through online sales.
An Indulgent Way to Commemorate a Special Occasion
The indulgences of chocolate have made it a go-to gift for couples of all ages and backgrounds. Whether they’re celebrating Valentine’s Day or a relationship anniversary, couples can make sweet memories by bringing chocolate gifts to the table.
Chocolate Pizza sprinkles extra fun, excitement, and deliciousness to the chocolate gift industry with its one-of-a-kind gourmet products. Chocolate Pizza has received orders from six continents and delivered specialty treats to recognize the accomplishments, milestones, and relationships that mean the most to people.
“I am in the business of making people happy,” Ryan said. “And I think that’s a pretty good business to be in these days.”
Chocolate Pizza has shared its decadent treats with A-list celebrities, Hall of Fame athletes, Supreme Court Justices, rock and roll legends and top political and business leaders. The chocolatiers have taken on bulk orders for 31,000 Chocolate Pizzas from a major retailer — and they have handcrafted personalized gifts for weddings, birthdays, and other celebrations.
During 2020, many loved ones could not be together in person, so they turned to Chocolate Pizza to show love and appreciation from a distance. “The best part for me was the smiles and reactions I received by selecting these as holiday gifts,” said Bonnie W. in a thank-you note. “In a year when there are few smiling faces, this wonderful gift that you and your hardworking team provided was appreciated more than words can say.”
Ryan said his all-time favorite story came around Memorial Day a few years ago. A father and son came into Chocolate Pizza around closing time just to browse. The store was running a veteran discount on a patriotic Chocolate Pizza that said “Thank You For Your Service” in red, white, and blue candies, so Ryan’s dad asked the pair if they were veterans. The son said he wasn’t a veteran, but, as they were leaving, the father said quietly, “Nam, ’68 to ’69.”
Coincidentally, those are the same years Ryan’s late grandfather served in Vietnam, so Ryan and his dad rushed outside with the specialty Chocolate Pizza and gave it to the Vietnam veteran as a gift. The man got choked up when he saw the special message.
It was a touching moment in the parking lot, and the veteran’s son followed up later with a note saying no one had ever thanked his father for his service before. He sent along a check with a request to donate the money to thank more veterans. That’s exactly what Chocolate Pizza did.
“That Chocolate Pizza caught one man’s eye and started in motion that beautiful story,” Ryan said. “It’s not just chocolate — sometimes it’s a spark for something far more important. And that is why I love what I do.”
Chocolate Pizza Satisfies Sweethearts With a Sweet Tooth
Chocolate Pizza can give couples a sweet way to celebrate relationship milestones, mark a special occasion, or just show they care. The indulgent gift baskets and treats offer an affordable luxury that can brighten people’s days and give them a memory they’ll treasure for years to come.
Since his childhood, Ryan has known his purpose in life and has pursued his dreams with relentless passion. That’s how he came to own Chocolate Pizza at age 21.
Over the last 10 years, Ryan has worked hard to elevate Chocolate Pizza’s creations and turn the family-run chocolate shop into a nationally recognized brand. His inspirational life story has been featured in PEOPLE Magazine, Forbes Magazine, and other media outlets.
“People face all kinds of obstacles, setbacks, and tragedies in their life, but they don’t have to be defined by them,” Ryan said. “Chocolate Pizza Company is a testament that dreams are bigger than tragedies, that we are all stronger than we realize. We can move mountains.”