Michigan Avenue Turns Into Real Life Candyland
People come from across the globe to shop along Michigan Avenue's Magnificent Mile. One of the most storied streets in the world, the stretch of Michigan from the Chicago River to Oak Street is renowned for high-end shopping, but lately the street has been attracting a new horde of clientele as well; the type of clientele that keeps dentists rich. With the recent openings of Dylan's Candy Bar, complete with a brand new cafe and bar, and the world's largest Ghirardelli just across the street, the Magnificent Mile just got a whole lot sweeter.
Dylan's Candy Bar has long been a hot spot for celebrities and glamorous sweet tooths in New York City. The real life version of Willy Wonka's factory attracts shoppers from near and far for its peerless array of newfangled and old-fashioned candies galore, housed in a treacly hued wonderland of a store. The brand, owned by Dylan Lauren, daughter of Ralph Lauren, has since spread to Miami, Los Angeles, and most recently Chicago, with a massive candy emporium on Michigan Avenue by the historic Tribune Building. The shop opened last year, complete with a dizzying variety of candies in every shape, size, and color. But the coolest new facet of the store is the new addition of a second floor and a cafe and bar. The second floor basically doubles the size of the already enormous store, with tons of new sweets selections to be had. There's a fudge station loaded with offbeat flavors like jelly donut, a candy "wall of fame" with custom mixes designed by celebrities, Dylan's Candy Bar attire and apparel, candy bars in custom wrappers bedecked with different names, a private event room, and lots more.
Then there's the downstairs cafe and bar, which adds a whole new component to the candy store template. Whereas the rest of the spaces are whimsically nostalgic, playing off the idea of everyone's inner child (or actual child, since there's plenty of those around here as well), the dining and drinking department is a different story. Sure there's an ice cream counter filled with sundaes and the like, but the main dining area contains soft pretzels with spicy pimento cheese dip, plus candy-infused cocktails like Sour Patch Kid Sours and Nerd-filled Mojitos.
Across the street from Dylan's, newly opened inside the Wrigley Building, is the world's largest Ghirardelli store. If that name sounds familiar, it's 1). because Ghirardelli is a world-famous brand and 2). because Ghirardelli has another candy and ice cream shop at the other end of Michigan Avenue on Pearson Street. So now basically Ghirardelli has successfully book-ended the Magnificent Mile with its chocolate. The San Francisco company's expansion in Chicago is the biggest anywhere, besting even one in its home town. Essentially the chocolate version of Eataly, this massive cocoa Mecca is a two-story behemoth with substantial outdoor seating, walls upon walls of chocolates in every flavor, milkshakes, ice cream, cookies, brownies, hot chocolate aplenty, and some of the best views of the Michigan Avenue bridge and the Chicago River. The scent of freshly made waffle cones permeates the second floor, which is the larger of the two floors by a long shot, and where most of the action is. This place is a chocoholic's dream come true, and potentially their greatest weakness.
Thinking of new nicknames for the Magnificent Mile now. Cavity Mile? Candyland 2.0?
- Matt Kirouac