Valentine’s Day is coming; time to rekindle your love affair with the Clark Bar.
The iconic candy bar, which the Pittsburgh-based D.L. Clark Company debuted in 1917, is exclusively returning to local store shelves this Friday after a two-year absence.
It’s being sold by S&S Candy & Cigar on the South Side, Grandpa Joe’s Candy Shop in the Strip District, Katie’s Kandy Downtown and the McKeesport Candy Company. Clark Bar giveaways and promotions will be held at undisclosed locations around the city. Every wrapper bears the words, “Born in the Burgh.”
“It’s a love letter to Pittsburgh,” says Anthony Forgione, president of Boyer Candy Company. “What better place to bring the candy back than to where it started … and on Valentine’s Day!”
In 2018, Boyer Candy Company of Altoona, Pa., purchased the rights, recipes and equipment for the treat from its last producer, Necco, or New England Confectionery Co., which abruptly closed its Massachusetts factory that year.
The Altoona facility, which also makes Mallo Cups, hung a replica of the iconic Clark Bar sign on the side of the building. People have been donating Clark memorabilia to the site ever since.
There’s no telling how many Clark Bars were produced over its 103-year lifespan, but there’s no questioning its popularity. During the early years of World War II, the North Side plant was shipping 400,000 bars overseas to U.S. troops, according to a 1999 story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. When a strike halted production for 11 days, the federal government stepped in and got the lines rolling again, declaring the Clark Bar to be “essential” to the war effort.
The company will start a nationwide Clark Bar rollout in the next few months. Clark Cups, Boyer peanut butter cups mixed with crushed up Clark Bars, have been available across the country for the last six months.
Once the secret got out that Clark Bars were making a comeback, Boyer Candy Co. was inundated with calls and emails. It’s been a whirlwind day for Forgione, who compares it to a Wonka Golden Ticket frenzy. He even loaded up his accountant’s car with more product to send to Pittsburgh.
“For over 100 years, Pittsburgh has embraced this candy bar,” Forgione says, “and now the candy bar is embracing Pittsburgh back.”