We’re candy people. Well, maybe not my husband Brian, but Natalie, Carter and I are candy people. We stop in almost every single candy store we walk past while traveling just to peek inside and maybe get a sample if they have something unique. We visit the candy stores near us for special game night treats, and Natalie has even celebrated her birthday with a two day candy extravaganza in San Francisco.
We’re candy explorers. So when we drove past Dylan’s Candy Bar during the cab ride to the Lincoln Park Zoo and Lincoln Park Conservatory in Chicago, we decided on the spot that we had to visit the store. I pulled up the Dylan’s Candy Bar website to learn more and discovered they also had a Candy Cafe & Bar that not only served regular food, but the most gorgeous, amazing, incredible desserts, and candy-based cocktails, several of which smoke and bubble.
OMG. I made us reservations right away. There was no way we were going to leave Chicago without dining at Dylan’s Candy Cafe & Bar and shopping at Dylan’s Candy Bar. We were so excited!
The Truth About Dylan’s Candy Cafe & Bar
Let me start by saying the our dinner at the Dylan’s Candy Cafe & Bar (except for the pizza, which was soggy) was delicious. Natalie had a decadent Mac & Cheese topped with toasted bread crumbs, and Brian and I had juicy turkey burgers in buttery pretzel buns. Oh, and the lemonades we ordered, which came topped with gummy candy and packages of pop rocks to add, were colorful and super fun. Our clothes were coated in pop rocks from them popping out of the lemonades!
But… Dessert — the whole reason we went to the Dylan’s Candy Cafe & Bar in the first place — was amazingly lousy. Terrible even.
After all but drooling over the photos of the desserts on their website and Instagram account, we couldn’t wait to order our own Instagram-worthy, colorful, piled-high, candy-laden desserts! We poured over the menu, carefully selected our desserts, and waited with anticipation…
This was going to be awesome… or so we thought. Our entire experience slid downhill fast. The Dylan’s dessert experience was underwhelming at best and we were so incredibly disappointed.
- It took almost 45 minutes just to get our desserts. Our sever rarely checked on us, and when we asked about our desserts, he told us that the ice cream counter will get to them when they can, but they’re getting a lot of orders at the ice cream counter. So, if you dine in the Dylan’s Cafe, you’re the lowest priority and come last.
- When our dessert finally did arrive, we only got one of them! We received the S’Mores, which was presented terribly and was incorrect. We didn’t receive the type of the chocolate we requested, the presentation was totally sloppy, and the marshmallow wasn’t even hot! It looks like they just scooped a blob of marshmallow cream from the jar you buy at the grocery store. The dessert didn’t look ANYTHING like the photos and left us wishing we had not ordered dessert at all.
- Then Natalie received her dessert, the Triple Chocolate Ice Cream Sundae, and it also looked nothing like the photos. While she did say it tasted amazing, she was disappointed at the presentation. It just looked like any other sundae covered in whipped cream.
- Through all of this Brian still hadn’t received his dessert and it was just a S’mores Milkshake! We were DONE with our desserts and he still didn’t have one. When it finally did come, our server just set it on the table and walked away. The problem was that he gave Brian what looked like a watery chocolate shake milkshake in a to-go cup with a lid (GROSS), when the shake he ordered was supposed to come in a glass mug with marshmallow and chocolate sprinkles around the rim, a giant waffle cone stuffed inside and filled with ice cream, then topped with chocolate, toasted marshmallow, and a big graham cracker! WTF?
When you dine out as much as we have, you’re going to have some bad dining experiences, but when the server is friendly and apologetic and communicative, and the manager comes over to speak with you, we can forgive and move on — every once in a while people and restaurants just have a bad night.
But that wasn’t the case at Dylan’s Candy Cafe. Not a single dessert we ordered came out looking even remotely close to the photos, the service was terrible and insanely slow, no one even apologized, and a manager never even came out to speak with us. It was as if the staff knows the service is bad, and they just want to avoid you until you leave.
Needless to say, don’t be fooled into dining at the Dylan’s Candy Cafe & Bar and don’t let the incredible photos of spectacular desserts trick you into spending your money there.
I wish I had taken the time to read the reviews online before making our reservation, as the reviews echo our experience over and over. But I was seduced by the photos and like so many others, left sad and disappointed.
Chicago Candy Store
As I said, we’re candy people. The kids and I love candy. And we were prepared to sample all sorts of things at Dylans. We had planned to shop in the Dylan’s Candy Bar Chicago location after dinner to grab some sweet treats to enjoy while watching the fireworks, but after our dining fiasco, I didn’t want to give them another penny. I didn’t want to disappoint my kids however, so we did try to salvage the experience by checking out the huge candy store on Michigan Avenue.
Carter and I were on a mission to get some rainbow sour strips — they are our favorite and we get them at every candy store we visit! Natalie ended up getting some too. Then at check out my jaw dropped and Brian was even more pissed off. Our three tiny bags of sour strips, which usually cost us around $11 totaled $30 at Dylan’s Candy Bar! Holy crap!
Here’s the deal: Dylan’s didn’t have anything truly unique and amazing that we haven’t seen at other candy stores like It’Sugar. They did have some bright and colorful decorations, the candy store is giant and colorful, and the selection of candies is enormous — but when shopping there, you just need to know that everything is priced double what you would pay anywhere else.
Normally this is where I’d tell you all about Dylan’s Candy Bar, the history of the candy-themed lifestyle brand, and it’s founder, but seeing as I can’t recommend you visit the store, I’ll skip that for now.
Know Before You Go
- Dylan’s Candy Bar is located on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile inside the world-famous Tribune Tower at 445 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60611.
- Hours are Monday through Thursday from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm, Friday and Saturday from 10:00 am to 11:00 pm, and Sunday from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm.
- While Dylan’s Candy Bar covers two floors lined with candy and candy-related gift items, accessories, and clothing, expect to pay double the price for the same candy you can find at other candy stores.
- Read the reviews before making reservations or dining at Dylan’s Candy Cafe & Bar as the service is awful and the desserts look NOTHING like the photos. Instead, consider just ordering a drink like the Popping Lemonade (with gummy candies and pop rocks) or one of the fun candy-based cocktails.
- If you do want ice cream, skip the cafe and order from the counter — or just go to the Ghirardelli Ice Cream Shop across the street in the Wrigley Building.