Clark Bars Are Back In Pittsburgh, Just In Time For Valentine's Day

Feb 14, 2020
Originally published on February 14, 2020 4:29 pm
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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Clark Bars - you haven't been able to find them in the candy aisle for about two years. But today, they're making a comeback in a handful of stores in Pittsburgh. It's a Valentine's Day gift to Pittsburgh from Boyer Candy Company to honor the candy's beloved status in the city. WESA's Kiley Koscinski has the story.

KILEY KOSCINSKI, BYLINE: A Clark Bar is a sticky taffy wrapped in layers of peanut butter and then blanketed with chocolate. The candy bar was born on Pittsburgh's North Side in 1917 and hit peak popularity in the mid-'60s.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Listen to your sweet tooth. He's saying, I want a Clark Bar.

KOSCINSKI: But it disappeared from shelves in 2018 when the former owner went bankrupt. Boyer Candy Company bought the rights to the Clark Bar mere months later, but President Anthony Forgione says recreating the candy from just a list of ingredients was tough.

ANTHONY FORGIONE: We made some very goofy-looking Clark Bars (laughter) to start off with. The shapes were odd. The colors were odd.

KOSCINSKI: But the word was out in Pittsburgh. Forgione got countless calls and letters from Clark fans. And after months of experimentation, they got the shape, the colors and most importantly, the flavor right. Forgione says he wanted Pittsburghers to get the first taste of the reborn Clark Bar. Only a handful of candy stores have them, and each customer is permitted to buy one candy bar.

Locals showed up at S&S Candy & Cigar Company in Pittsburgh's South Side before doors opened at 9 a.m. It was their first shot at getting a taste of the relaunched Clark Bar.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: You were down here at 9 for yours, right?

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3: I was here before 9.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #4: Are you kidding?

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: Yeah.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #4: Oh, my gosh.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: You raised our day.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #4: To get your Clark Bars.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3: I feel like I was here at 8:38 'cause I think my...

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #4: Oh, my gosh.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3: ...Receipt said it.

KOSCINSKI: First in line this morning was Diane Talarico (ph) and Joan Davis, maiden name Joan Clark. Her grandfather, David L. Clark, created the candy.

JOAN CLARK: And I've been waiting since November because it was supposed to come out on the shelves by January 1. And I've been watching for it every day and first found out about it yesterday that it was going to be back out for Valentine's Day.

KOSCINSKI: Christopher McBride was also eager to taste the treat. He unwraps his Clark Bar while trying to remember the last time he had one.

CHRISTOPHER MCBRIDE: It's been many years, a good 15, 20 years.

KOSCINSKI: All right, my friend, dig in.

MCBRIDE: OK, peanut is good (ph). It's good. They need to bring them back.

KOSCINSKI: The new wrapper looks just like the old one but now features the words, born in the Burgh. Boyer will complete the rollout of the Clark Bar in Pittsburgh before bringing the candy back to shelves in other markets. For NPR News, I'm Kiley Koscinski in Pittsburgh.

(SOUNDBITE OF BOW WOW WOW'S "I WANT CANDY") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.