Subtle? Not at all. With multiple chandeliers and mirrors, ribbons of neon, a wall of valentine hearts, plus a $99 ice cream sundae, “smoking” drinks served in goblets, and rainbow-colored sliders plated up with a rubber duck, the Sugar Factory is a bold tribute to good, ol’ American over-the-topness.
Philadelphia now has a branch of the brasserie, which Food & Wine named America’s most Instagrammed restaurant.
Sugar Factory started, not surprisingly, in that other tribute to excess, Las Vegas, 12 years ago. It was a candy shop that along the way added a savory menu, similar to competitor Cheesecake Factory’s sweet and savory pairing.
The Philadelphia location, the chain’s 25th, replaces Porta, a pizzeria and nightspot at 1216 Chestnut St. that buttoned up in 2020. An Atlantic City Sugar Factory opened at the Hard Rock about three years ago, and Cherry Hill’s Garden State Park Town Center will get one in 2022.
As Sugar Factory grew, it picked up celebrity affiliations, including Pitbull (through his Voli 305 vodka), Nick Cannon, Snoop Dogg, Bruno Mars, and Mario Lopez. DJ Pauly D, who was featured on MTV’s Jersey Shore, is the chain’s official DJ. He will spin at the Jan. 8 grand opening.
The restaurant is supersized, with a mezzanine overlooking the bar. It takes up a double-size storefront property that backs up to the future Barstool Sports Bar on Sansom Street. Of course, there’s a candy store attached with a floor-to-ceiling candy wall.
Signatures on the savory side of the menu: an 8-ounce Angus burger topped with Flaming Hot Cheetos-crusted pepper jack cheese, pickles, shredded lettuce, and chipotle mayo on a bun crusted with Hot Cheetos, as well as an 8-ounce steak and lobster tail for $78. The rainbow sliders ($25) include a rubber ducky to take home.
Desserts include lavishly decorated shakes served in chocolate-covered mugs. The King Kong Sundae, a $99 splurge that serves up to 12 people and features 24 scoops of ice cream, is doused with sprinkles, gummy bears, caramel sauce, fudge sauce, and giant whirly pops.
Drinks are similarly plus-sized, served dramatically in goblets (with colorful gummies), like scorpion bowls on steroids. They are available with and without alcohol.
Note to editors: We’ve gotta get LaBan in here.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday.