Max Brenner Chocolate Bar, Bethesda's own fast-casual version of Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory, will finally commence with serving dessert for nearly every hour of the waking day. The Bethesda Row restaurant opens today at 8 a.m.
There are waffles. There are sundaes. You'll find yourself engaging in rituals centered around the making of popsicles and the sweetening of coffees. There will certainly be insulin spikes. What there is not: burrito bowls, panino or anything savory, unless you count salted chocolate.
There are Max Brenner restaurants in New York and Philly, but the Chocolate Bar, at 7263 Woodmont Ave., is the first U.S. location of the Israel-based chain with a concise, sweets-only menu that you order at a counter, just like you might at Sweetgreen (as if you eat salad, ha!). The difference is that servers then bring your treats to you when they're ready.
Who's in the market for slushy chocolate drinks, crepes and fondue? Credit-card wielding tweens, 20-something couples on a date night, tourists and anyone with a sweet tooth. So, in some ways, all of us.
Before you go (and you know you will), here's a look at a few of the house specialties:
The "pure chocolate granita": Like almost everything at Max Brenner, the drinkware is quirky. The custom-made drinkware comes in curious shapes, and the drinks have curious names. In the Alice Cup (pictured) is one of the shop's non-alcoholic, frozen "choctails," made with nothing more than the house ganache (that's a rich mix of cream and chocolate) blended with ice ($6.95). The drinks have been named some of America's best milkshakes by USA Today.
The chocolate chunks pizza: A fairly straightforward dessert pizza, this one features melted milk and white chocolate on a soft, doughy pizza crust, topped with toasted marshmallows. Served by the slice, half or as a whole pie ($4.95-$17.95).
The chocolate syringe: What to say about two ounces of Belgian chocolate, served in something that looks not unlike a giant turkey baster? It's all chocolate, and it's quite good chocolate. So indulge, but remember this: This highly weird treat ($4.75) is, perhaps, best ordered to go and mainlined on a night when you're alone, post-breakup, watching "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days."
Popsicle fondue: This one, like a lot of Max Brenner treats, is a kind of ritual. An order for two ($13.95) comes with two vanilla ice cream bars and milk chocolate, plus sweet and crunchy sides. Dip. Eat. Repeat.