To say I’ve been a lifelong Nutella fan would be an understatement: I practically lived on Nutella sandwiches as a child. I slathered it over fruit when I decided to start “eating healthily” as an adult. I’ve nursed many, many heartbreaks by dipping croissants (or, who am I kidding here?) spoons right into that telltale jar.

So when I heard that the first ever Nutella café would open in Chicago — which happens to be where I live — I was obviously excited.

I mean, who wouldn’t be? At the same time, though, I figured they’d serve the standards (Nutella crepes, though delicious, aren’t exactly anything new, yaknow?) and that I wouldn’t exactly leave with my mind blown. After all, I have a jar of the spread in my pantry at all times — do I really need a café to hit up when I need my fix?

Credit: Author / HelloGiggles
Credit: Author / HelloGiggles
Credit: Author / HelloGiggles

Boy, was I wrong. I stopped in to preview the café, which is located in the Loop. First of all, the storefront was designed to make diners feel like they’re inside a jar of Nutella, aka heaven.

It’s full of warm lighting, bold red detailing, and even a few adorable yellow hazelnut flowers suspended from the ceiling.

Credit: Author / HelloGiggles

But let’s talk about what really matters here: the food.

First of all, even the chocolate/hazelnut-averse among us (yes, they exist, and yes, they’re weird) will be able to find some savory goodness on the menu. The team was kind enough to let me try a seriously refreshing seasonal salad trio (healthy things!) and a more indulgent panini, which was served on super fresh bread. Both dishes came with hazelnuts to tie it back into the Nutella theme.

Credit: Author / HelloGiggles

Speaking of, let’s get to the main attraction: The Nutella-packed dishes. I devoured a Panzanella-inspired fruit salad that strikes the perfect balance of indulgent and nutritious (Greek yogurt, berries, crushed hazelnuts, basil, orange zest, and pound cake croutons, all topped off with spread).

There was also your classic calorie-bomb: A waffle topped with fruit compote and tons of the dreamy spread drizzled over the whole thing. Yeah, I’ll be going back for more of that.

Credit: Author / HelloGiggles

Overall? The first bona fide Nutella café is totally worth a visit — and if it showed a Nutella die-hard like me a few new ways to enjoy the spread, you know it’s doing something right.