Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and Savory Feast Kitchen coming to CityWalk Hollywood
The CityWalk dinning/shopping/entertainment district over at Universal Orlando Resort has been undergoing a massive restructuring process for the past five years, replacing a number of older, less-popular venues with brand-new and more appealing ones (it only makes sense when a veritable flood of new guests arrive, thanks to the [expanded] presence of a certain Boy Wizard). Our own CityWalk over here in Hollywood, meanwhile, has been experiencing a concerted makeover, as well, seeing a huge influx of new retail and gastronomical options – just in the past three years alone, Voodoo Doughnut, Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt, Mini Monster, Poke Bar, Sephora, Nectar Bath Treats, Vivo Italian Kitchen, and Antojitos Cocina Mexicana have arrived, with NBC Sports Grill & Brew slated to debut in 2020.
Now it’s time to add one more entry to the list, and this one is quite the doozy: Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and Savory Feast Kitchen, which, like Vivo, was an original concept when it originally debuted in Florida in September 2016.
Not familiar with what is easily Universal’s most successful restaurant? The venue offers up a wide and varied (and good!) menu, many of whose items feature some sort of chocolatey enhancement (the Warm Chocolate Bread with almond butter, for example, is to die for, while many also swear by the Chocolate Stout). When combined with the robust gift shop, which brandishes a whole extra assortment of sweet goodies, the overarching steampunk aesthetic, and the meet-‘n-greet characters of Dr. Penelope Toothsome and her faithful robot companion, Jacques, it’s easy to see how the company managed to knock this one out of the culinary park. (It’s also easy to see just how involved Universal Creative was; this was the very first time that the division that designs all of the various theme-park attractions set foot in the restaurant world, though it hasn’t been the last.)
But the single biggest wow factor of Toothsome has to be its signature milkshakes, which are packed with a smorgasbord of ingredients and brandish some pretty impressive toppings, to boot. The Marshmallow Crisp, for instance, comes with vanilla ice cream, rice crispies, marshmallow fluff, whipped cream, and a Rice Krispies treat bar on the top; the Espresso Buzzzz consists of coffee ice cream and espresso, with heaping helpings of whipped cream, espresso beans, and a cherry. There are usually a dozen or so shakes on hand at any one time – plus, in Orlando, at least, the occasional one-day-only entry – and it’s hard to go wrong with any one of them.
More than the delectable offerings and imaginative design (and the fact that it’s an original concept, something which the company has been keen on pursuing over the past few years), there’s another reason that Universal has opted to bring Toothsome Chocolate Emporium over to the West Coast: cross-pollination. As it has continued to invest billions of dollars into designing and installing new attractions at all three of the theme-park locations it owns (sorry, Universal Studios Singapore), Universal has been interested in recouping some of those investments as quickly as it can by sharing them at multiple destinations. This is the reason why Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem, Springfield, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and the aforementioned Margaritaville and Vivo have all made the cross-country trek, and it’s why, furthermore, that Universal Orlando has imported Skull Island: Reign of Kong, Fast & Furious – Supercharged, and Voodoo Doughnut.
Universal Studios Hollywood’s Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and Savory Feast Kitchen will open next to the Universal Cinema in 2021.