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The Early Buzz on America’s First Nutella Cafe: Sweet Salvation or Over-Hyped?

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The hazelnut spread restaurant’s buzz is spreading worldwide

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Nutella Cafe
Nick Fochtman
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

The hype surrounding America’s first standalone Nutella Cafe is real. The news is sweeping the globe, as even The Times of India posted a video about the Chicago restaurant. Now that school’s out for the summer, the lines continue to grow along Michigan Avenue, even though the cafe’s been open two weeks ago. DNAinfo reported that the cafe’s doing 900 covers a day. Are the waits worth it? Check out some of the early impressions.

The line: Visitors are reporting that the line isn’t that terrible, with about hour-long waits. It seems high summer temperatures are Nutella nuts’ worst enemies. The line often stretches around the block, however, as Yelper Anna H. pointed out that cafe employees handed out snacks to those waiting outside. Some folks don’t see the point.

Sunset hasn’t affected the line either:

But others weren’t impressed:

The food: Nutella fans may not want to read the comments, because many folks weren’t impressed. The experience left some feeling that they were suckered: “The Nutella? Literally....squeezed [on top] with a piping bag maybe like a 4-year-old kid was in the kitchen icing a toaster strudel,” wrote Yelper Stacy P. She showed her angst with a bad pun: “Nutt eva coming back here again.”

The savory dishes were a hyped part of the menu. But they didn’t work out for Facebook user Lupe Sanchez: “When it comes to the actual sweet Nutella dishes they are good but their savory ones are just absolutely gross.” Yelper Otto V. added: “The product is addictive. But, I cannot say that anything on the menu is interesting.”

It’s not all bad. Many users raved about the gelato.

Nutella cafe #thebest incredible gelato

A post shared by Sam Mullins (@samerica_the_great) on

Most of the reviews about the food were negative. It’s worth noting that whoever runs the Nutella social media accounts has responded to almost negative comment. Still, Facebook user Jennifer Aguilar-Rodríguez was won over: “Ordered the grilled baguette, croissant, banana and nutella crepes, and fondue with fruit. Everything was hot and delicious! Will definitely come back when the wait time dies down.”

The service: With such an opening rush, it appears that staff needs experience. Facebooker Kanchan Garg wrote: “Service was terrible, space in restaurant was not optimized, and employees were eating in the middle of the restaurant where as paying customers had been waiting hours without food.”

Much of the service complaints were related to the long lines. Some reasonable folks, like Yelper Tina F., realized that: “But once you get inside the service is great and the general manager and cash register girl :) were awesome.”

Overall: The cult popularity of the hazelnut spread means it’s a big hit even if the execution needs work. Many visitors posted about the vindication they felt after their experience. The Nutella Cafe may be Chicago’s biggest tourist attraction of the summer.

Nutella Cafe

189 N. Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL