Savannah pralines have taken over the country and now St. Armands Circle.
Stephanie Streeter’s eyes closed in response to biting into one. She murmured through a full mouth: “creamy, buttery and sweet.”
River Street Sweets Savannah’s Candy Kitchen opened its 24th store in the Circle on Thursday, Aug. 25. Owner Tim Strickland and his staff celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, while shoppers celebrated with free samples.
“We’re known for our pralines. We’re the largest praline manufacturer in the country,” said Strickland. “We’re from the New Orleans/Baton Rouge area, so that’s why we have that kindred spirit with the praline.”
Beyond the pralines, which are made fresh daily, the store offers fresh-churned ice cream and candy — barrels full of candy. From basic jelly beans to gummies that look like tacos, the candy shop is a mecca fit for Willy Wonka.
Strickland wanted to open on St. Armands five years ago, but without a lot of vacancies to choose from, he waited it out. Before deciding on the location at 318 John Ringling Blvd., he researched his neighbors: Wyland Galleries, Kilwins and Tommy Bahama.
“Those are all the top one or two or three within their chains, so I knew if they were doing that well that we would do really well too,” Strickland said. “That’s the reason why we picked this area.”
The candy shop chain sprawls the east coast from Asbury Park, New Jersey, to Key West and heads as far west as San Antonio, Texas. For right now, the focus is on Florida.
“It’s in our backyard,” Strickland said. “I would like to go 25 to 35 stores in Florida in the next five years.”
The shop on St. Armands Circle opens daily at 11 a.m. Closing hours vary between 9-10 p.m. For information, visit RiverStreetSweets.com.