Let the posing and posting begin.
Sugar Factory American Brasserie, the candy shop and restaurant chain known for Instagrammable colorful mega cocktails, shakes and spaces has landed at Circle Center Mall.
And there are plenty of chances to experience order envy.
Insane milkshakes are served in chocolate-coated mugs and topped with caramel waffles, a slice of cheesecake or frosted cupcakes.
An order of the Nutella Banana milkshake ($ 19) topped with chocolate-dipped bananas, unicorn spiral lollipop and a candy necklace might seem fine until one sees the Cookie Monster Make a Wish shake ($ 21) that comes in a mug studded with chocolate chips and chocolate chip cookie pieces and topped with a cookie and a blue glazed donut with a blue frosted cupcake on the side.
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Bright $ 39 cocktail goblets smoke and bubble like brews in cauldrons.
Looking over the list of dozens, one might be content with The Big Cloud, a blue raspberry-flavored drink with vodka, pineapple, peach and melon and garnished with blue raspberry cotton candy; but then there’s the Candy Shop, a mix of peaches, and pineapple and orange juices with cognac, tequila and rum and topped with gummy candies, sour peach slices and peach candy rings.
The Sugar Factory quietly opened at 49 W. Maryland St. this weekend after several delays from its projected April 1 launch. Saturday was the first day for reservations, with limited seating so as not to overwhelm the new staff and to avoid long wait times for orders.
The brand is star-powered
Guests there found a high-energy vibe – it’s family focused – with plenty of 2010s pop and R&B on the playlist.
And the celebs are coming, management assures.
That’s Sugar Factory’s thing, along with over-the-top milkshakes, desserts and drinks.
Founded as an upscale confection shop in Las Vegas in 2010, the likes of Kim Kardashian and Britney Spears being pictured with its rhinestone-studded handled Couture Pops suckers helped the brand to take off. (Spears’ former long-time manager Larry Rudolph is a partner.)
A video wall and monitors show stars who have visited various Sugar Factory locations. The drink menu is framed by pictures of entertainers (J-Lo, Kanye, Ice-T) taken at stores, and some goblets are made with celebrity-owned spirits, including tequila from Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Bruno Mars’ rum, and tequila from Nick Jonas. More than a dozen of the cocktails are actually created by stars. The Big Cloud was developed by Nick Cannon, while 50 Cent created the Candy Shop, which uses his Branson Cognac.
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The grand opening on April 23 is set to be a show, said Regional Manager Donnie Eversole, with Cannon doing a DJ set and other celebs lined up to attend.
“We always do like a very soft open and it kind of leads up,” he said. “It’s going to be crazy.”
From lollipops to lobster
The drinks and sweets get the spotlight, but the restaurant has a full food menu with a variety of appetizers (fried macaroni and cheese pops, $ 15), salads, sandwiches and entrees, including pastas, pan-roasted salmon and steak and lobster dishes.
Its signature rainbow sliders come sandwiched between brightly colored buns ($ 25); the Flaming Hot Cheetos monster burger ($ 21) is served on a crusted Cheetos-toasted bun.
“We have everything from steak and lobster – surf and turf – and then all the gourmet monster burgers in between. So we really hit all the elements of a good menu, ”Eversole said.
There’ll be a weekend brunch starting next week. Look for rainbow-colored stacks of pancakes. Another pancake will be topped with ice and cotton candy.
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The menu contains no item that screams Indiana, but Eversole said the chain expects to find a local signature dish to add.
“We haven’t found that thing for Indy yet, but I’m sure it’s coming; because we know that’s out there. It’s a foodie town. ”
Guests should expect the milkshakes to take up to 25 minutes to prepare, because the mugs have to be coated to order.
Also there’s a mandatory 20-percent service charge, with 17 percent going to the service staff.
Pretty in Pink is a first
The Indianapolis Sugar Factory is the latest in about 30 stores, and the fourth in the Midwest, behind shops in Chicago; Rosemont, Illinois; and a store at Mall of America in Minnesota.
The downtown convention business – the weekend saw a lot of costumed visitors from Indiana Comic Convention – factored into the selection of the spot.
“It’s just a great market. We love to be around the conventions,” Eversole said. “We have one of the best corners in downtown.”
The 9,657-square-foot space that had been the former Palomino Restaurant & Bar has an indoor dining area that seats 184 – including cozy alcoves with tables for six – a bar section accommodating 12, and an outdoor patio for 32.
In the candy shop space where the Couture Pop suckers sell for $ 25 each, bins of bulk candy line one wall and a case carries donuts, cheesecakes, cookies and French macarons made in-house daily.
The Indianapolis store is debuting the chain’s first Pretty in Pink Café sweets-focused space with a candy heart wall and floral ceilings, designed to attract a younger clientele. Think elementary school.
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The pink space will have its own menu, including pink pancakes for brunch,
“It’s going to attract a different demographic age,” Eversole said. “This is a perfect birthday situation. I think we’re going to have a lot of that. ”
That worked for Kora Bass, a seven-year-old who, with her father Ben, was downtown for the comic con. Walking past the shop, she spotted the pink rose-decorated walls and dragged her father into the store. Inside of 10 minutes, they were seated and she was sipping on a non-alcoholic version of The Big Cloud and ordering rainbow sliders.
“She loves everything pink,” he said. “When she saw that, she had to come in.”
As for birthdays, Sugar Factory’s Indianapolis serving staff quickly became experienced in helping guests celebrate.
Aliyah Dean, with family and friends, toasted her 13th birthday with sliders Saturday.
She knew the restaurant was where she wanted to celebrate. She’d had her 12th birthday party at a Sugar Factory in Las Vegas.
“I really enjoyed it, so I wanted to come here,” she said. “It’s so much fun. It’s very kid-friendly. ”
Contact IndyStar reporter Cheryl V. Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-444-6264. Follow her on Twitter: @cherylvjackson.