There goes that summer diet plan, Chicago.
Nutella Café opens its doors today on the city’s bustling Michigan Avenue. The restaurant is the first Nutella Café to be owned and operated by parent company Ferrero, whose team picked a Second City opening for one big factor.
“There’s an incredible dining culture in this city, and Nutella is all about the idea of sharing good food with friends and family,” says Noah Szporn, head of marketing at Nutella North America. “We thought that Chicago would be the perfect place to do that.”
While the team has hosted several pop-up cafés worldwide, the Chicago opening is its first permanent fixture — and as such, they wanted to make the experience a memorable one. Visitors enter through a door in the shape of a Nutella jar to discover ample space for sitting and lingering underneath acoustical panels resembling waves of chocolate and bright yellow lighting fixtures in the shape of hazelnut flowers that illuminate, of course, what everyone is here for — the food.
An all-day menu is offered and includes an extensive lineup of sweet and savory options, both big and small, each of which is in some way inspired by Nutella or its origins. “We wanted to challenge the chefs with the idea of carrying the essence of Nutella throughout the day, whether that’s in a breakfast pastry or a salad,” notes Szporn, who references greens topped with chopped hazelnuts and panini filled with speck ham sourced from Piedmont, the same Italian region where Nutella began. Sweeter options include everything from traditional go-tos, such as Nutella-hazelnut baguettes and Nutella-banana crepes, to more creative incorporations of the spread (think oatmeal or fruit salad with yogurt).
Whatever guests order, the team hopes they’ll take their sweet time enjoying it. “Nutella has a European heritage, and part of that includes the idea of visiting patisseries and cafés and spending time to sit down with others and relax,” says Szporn. “We’re hoping that practice carries over.”
Nutella Café is at 189 N. Michigan Ave. and is open Monday-Thursday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. To learn more, call 312-729-5186.