With a door shaped like a Nutella jar, pendant lights shaped like hazelnut flowers, and a ceiling designed to resemble Nutella waves, America’s first stand-alone Nutella Cafe opened on May 31, 2017 and hazelnut spread fanatics, like our family, are visiting in droves.
“Chicago is well known for its flourishing food scene, so it was a top choice for us to have the Windy City as the home of our first cafe.”
Noah Szporn, Nutella North America (Eater Chicago)
The line for the Nutella Cafe is long. You can expect to wait an hour just to place your order.
It’s very obvious that this is a brand new restaurant, the staff is overwhelmed with the attendance, and there are some major kinks that still need to be worked out. We don’t live in Chicago, so we won’t be back — but if you do live in Chicago, I’d wait until the hype and the lines die down before visiting. The foods on display behind the cafe’s glass and shown in the cafe’s photos look delicious, so it may be worth a second chance in a few months, when it’s not so busy and the staff has more experience.
Our Nutella Cafe Experience
The line not only snakes through the restaurant, but then continues out the door and down the sidewalk. With a line that long, you’d think the staff would be moving people through the line quickly, but no such luck. This is by far the slowest moving order-at-the-counter restaurant I have ever been to. And it’s not just the staff at the registers moving slowly.
As we waited in line, we watched the kitchen staff making the food chat with each other, move at a snail’s pace, and worse, let customers’ food sit on the counters for several minutes unattended. I felt bad for whomever was going to receive those soggy crepes!
After watching customers who came before us wait for their food for an ungodly amount of time, bored out of their mind, we knew that if we ordered anything complicated we’d never get out of the cafe. We also watched as several customers sent back their orders. Needless to say, we didn’t have high expectations. Brian and I wanted to leave, but we stayed for Natalie.
When it was our turn to order, we opted for just a couple items that shouldn’t require much effort or cook time — gelato and fondue. Unfortunately, even those two items took more than 30 minutes to get, and when they did come, the gelato was melty and the fondue was, well, let’s just say it was ridiculous.
The menu said that the fondue was enough to share, yet the amount of Nutella we received was maybe two tablespoons. Also, maybe the staff doesn’t know what fondue means? That’s the only explanation that makes sense, as the Nutella we received wasn’t even warm — it’s as if they just scooped a tiny bit out of the jar you buy at the grocery store.
Frankly, we would have had a better experience if we had just walked a block or so down the street to a Walgreens, bought a jar of Nutella and some cookies, and ate dessert in the park. And we’re not the only ones who think so, as there are many reviews by customers wondering why they waited so long for food they likely could make themselves.
When we returned home from our vacation, we did make our own fondue and it was incredible!
Know Before You Go
- America’s first Nutella Cafe is located at 189 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60601 on Chicago’s famed Magnificent Mile.
- Ferrero USA owns the Nutella brand. Unlike the Nutella counters, this new standalone cafe is owned and operated by the company.
- If you’re not a Nutella fan like my son, don’t fret! There are plenty of menu items that do not include the creamy chocolate hazelnut spread.
- The lines at the Nutella Cafe are VERY long. To avoid the lines, arrive right when the cafe opens or in the middle of the day, not near a meal time.