There are plenty of cafes, bakeries, sweet shops and bars around campus, but when I heard I could get all of these options in one spot, I was immediately intrigued. Chocolate Cafe proved you can (almost) have it all.
The cafe is just a short drive west of campus on Northwest Boulevard, and I’m honestly shocked more students haven’t heard of it. My partner and I visited to get a sampling of its broad menu.
The signature offering — outside of its extensive selection of cakes and sweets— is the spiked hot chocolate. It comes in several varieties, spruced up with spirits ranging from vodka to Kahluato bourbon. I opted for the Hot Scotch, which mixes creamy hot chocolate with sweet butterscotch schnapps, topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. It was sizable, piping hot and absolutely delicious, not to mention potent. An $8 price tag might seem steep, but I have paid far more for much worse cocktails in my time.
My companion opted for a nonboozy option with the frozen chocolate chai latte. This actually wasn’t a menu item, but the barista offered to complete the special request, and it turned out great. It was well-mixed — not too overwhelming between the strong flavors of chocolate and chai.
Despite not being the Chocolate Cafe’s advertised focus, the lunch food was surprisingly tasty. Plus, almost all of its sandwiches, soups and salads are under or around the $10 mark. I ordered a brie BLT, which was absolutely delicious. There was a generous spread of sweet, creamy cheese across both slices of bread. My partner got the cafe’s new roast beef cheddar melt, which offered a sizable portion of meat and perhaps a bit too much ranch. I also got a half-size Cajun chicken salad, which was bizarrely more Tex-Mex than anything, with black beans and salsa. Still, it hit the spot.
And then, of course, there were the confections. Chocolate Cafe has a selection that promises to rot the sweet tooth right out of your mouth. Cakes rising more than a foot tall and everything you could imagine covered in chocolate and sold by the pound filled a display case that made me want to throw away all of my buttoned pants. The most notable was the Big Boy Buckeye, a sphere of chocolate-covered peanut butter the size of a softball. The staff suggested we try Buckeye pretzels, and they were a perfect mix of salty, savory and sweet.
My final selection of the afternoon was a plain black coffee, an essential test for any cafe. I have to say, this was the one spot where Chocolate Cafe disappointed. It was watery, weak and stale — hard to notice when compounded with sugar and chocolate, but an oddly important detail to overlook.
Still, I would gladly recommend Chocolate Cafe. I certainly plan to go back myself, especially considering it offers all-you-can-eat chocolate fondue for $9 on Friday nights, in addition to an assortment of sweet cocktails. I would love to see the quaint, friendly joint become a new student hot spot.
Chocolate Cafe is located at 1855 Northwest Blvd. and is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.