Americans are known for their love of desserts. The common phrase “It’s as American as apple pie” proves our country’s cultural appetite for the sweet. For the most part, everyone points the finger at women, saying we have the biggest sweet tooth of them all. We’ll move mountains for a decadent slice of cheesecake and turn to Ben & Jerry’s when we have a bad day. Whether that is a total stereotype or has a glimmer of truth, the numbers show that folks in the US tend to make room for dessert often. 49% of men and women between the ages of 25 and 34 admit to having dessert at least once a week or more in one study, and cake is the one common denominator for which the two genders share a passion.
Face it, no matter what they are said to do to our waistlines, we cannot resist a sweet treat every now and then. This is especially so when the dishes in question are nationally known, award-winning, and worthy of a whole lot of mmm’s. Check out the full range of smooth and frothy drinks, candies, pies, and delectable pastries that will have you licking your fingers. But, there is one caveat. You just may spot a celeb at one of these fine confectionary establishments. Who could blame them? Once you get a load of the scrumptious offerings at these 5 popular dessert spots, you may just have to visit for yourself.
5. Mindy’s Hot Chocolate
Celebrity pastry chef, Mindy Segal, knows how to make Chicago’s mouth water. With a rich history working for food havens like Spago, Gordon, Charlie Trotter’s, and MK, this heavenly dessert-making entrepreneur made her rounds through the culinary circuit before opening her very own full-service restaurant. Located on North Damen Avenue in Chicago, Mindy’s Hot Chocolate is making its mark on the area’s taste buds with unique treats designed primarily by Segal. Segal has been praised for her gift of inserting balance into her pastry creations with the perfect blend of texture, temperature, and taste. Her desserts have won her acclaim far beyond the streets of the Windy City, she has been recognized by the James Beard Foundation for five consecutive years as a nominee for Outstanding Pastry chef through the entire nation. She has also won the Time Out Chicago’s Eat Out Award for Best Pastry Chef for two consecutive years in addition to being honored by countless magazines and other publications for regional awards. What is Segal serving up that’s got everyone raving? Obviously, the hot chocolate is sublime, or “heavenly” as one reviewer has called it. Plus, there is Mindy’s trademark milk and cookies, the “Malted Milk”, and an assortment of ice creams, sorbets, and milkshakes. However, sweets aren’t all this upscale dining experience has to offer. Depending on the time of day or season that you visit, you can sample anything from fried chicken, a cheese plate coupled with candied almonds and fig compote, or a crab cake sandwich.
4. Dylan’s Candy Bar
A sugar fix to suit any preference has made its way to virtually every coast of the United States. Dylan’s Candy Bar broke ground in New York City in 2001 as the world’s largest candy emporium. The company’s innovator and namesake, Dylan Lauren, certainly learned from her father, fashion design and business executive Ralph Lauren, about developing not just terrific products to keep customers coming back, but also a well-rounded experience. Dylan’s Candy Bar will fill both adults and children alike with wonder and a greedy desire to try as many as possible of the 7,000 confections available on display. What’s more, the atmosphere is totally candy-inspired. From dripping chocolate seeming to come down from the ceilings, lollipop stairs, and a café decorated with gumball tabletops and booths that look like cupcakes it’s hard not to have an intense sugar craving inside. The place is basically a modern-day Willy Wonka’s Chocolate factory that offers nostalgic mixes with classic favorites like gummy bears and newer specialty candies from the Candy Crush Saga. The establishment also offers non-candy choices like a macaroons in every color imaginable, donuts with candy pieces on top, and other novelty items like jewelry and travel accessories. Plus, while you’re getting your fill of candies and treats, you just might bump into a star or two. Michelle Obama, David Beckham and sons, Taylor Swift, Al Pacino—they’ve all experienced this one-of-a-kind emporium.
3. Buckhead Diner
Atlanta’s Buckhead Diner offers a funky, retro vibe and the opportunity to spot your fair share of celebrities who have also taken a liking to this cool, upscale establishment. Just as the environment gives visitors a nostalgic feeling, so does the menu. Chef Charlie’s meatballs, the white truffle deviled eggs, and the CBS burger are just a few menu items that are worthy of mentioning. Yet, it is the desserts that are truly crowd-pleasers at this upscale joint. The White Chocolate Banana Crème Pie has been recognized many times over, For example, it earned the title in 2011 by Good Eats as the Best of Atlanta’s Best Dessert. Other sweet specialties include an array of unique milkshakes plus the Peaches & Cream Custard, the Key Lime Tart, and the Chocolate Peanut Butter S’Mores Bar. The Buckhead Diner services your everyday guy and girl but is also popular among celebs like Kathy Griffin, Kevin Bacon, Liam Hemsworth, and Ryan Seacrest.
2. Café Du Monde
Mosey on down to New Orleans’ French Quarter for a dessert that is loved from the bayou and beyond. To most tourists, a trip to the N.O. is not complete without stopping by the legendary Café du Monde. This quaint treasure nestled into the heart of the Big Easy is known for its French-style beignets and café au lait. Essentially, this is an old-fashioned coffee shop, open 24 hours a day, so you can’t expect to get much more than that. However, you won’t miss other menu items when you try their full-bodied coffee with chicory and the pillowy, fried doughnut served hot with mounds of confectioners’ sugar. Conan O’Brien gave the best advice when he warned, “If you’re ordering the delicious French-style beignets here, don’t wear black.” The café has hosted a large collection of the rich and famous over its more than 150 years of service. Most recently, it was the stomping ground for the mind-reading Merritt McKinney in the blockbuster film Now You See Me.
1. Serendipity 3
New York is well-known for its ritzy restaurants and bars that cater specifically to the rich and famous. However, there is one that far outshines the others in the area of desserts: Serendipity 3. Opened since the 1950s, the locale was initially known for being the scene of the romantic comedy Serendipity. Celebrities far and wide have merged on this inconspicuous establishment in the heart of Little Italy for its sweet, sweet offerings. According to the website, “before he was anyone, Andy Warhol declared it his favorite sweet shop.” Other greats have frequented the restaurant like Marilyn Monroe, Bill Clinton, Jay-Z and Beyoncé, Katie Holmes and Suri Cruise, and basically every other famous person who has a craving for well-made, popular desserts. The restaurant’s menu is as varied as its clientele. While the menu ranges from the beloved, unpretentious foot long hot dogs to the more sophisticated Spice Chicken Flambe’, everyone secretly comes for the dessert. The Frrrozen Hot Chocolate is one of their fan favorites and apparently had Oprah ready to “dance on the chandeliers” after a taste. Then, of course, the restaurant is well-known for setting trends with the Guinness World Records. In 2007, Serendipity 3’s Golden Opulence Sundae set the record for most expensive dessert due to its exquisite combination of Tahitian vanilla ice cream loaded down with rare Venezuelan chocolate, a drizzle of Amedei Porcelana –one of the world’s priciest chocolates—and various delectable fruits and finished off with edible 23-carat gold leaf. Then, the restaurant outdid itself by following behind with an up-priced version of its favorite, the Frrrozen Haute Chocolate, worth an outrageous $25,000. These treats may be covered in gold, but they promise there is something on the menu to suit even modest diners.