Saturday, August 27, 2016

PHOTO TOUR: Orlando's New Steampunk Chocolate Factory!

On Thursday John and I trekked out to Universal in the hopes of eating at the new Toothsome Chocolate Emporium, a steampunk-themed dreamland that serves as restaurant, gift shop, and take-out dessert bar.


(Toothsome replaces the old NBA restaurant next to Hard Rock.)

The grand opening isn't until this Fall, but Toothsome is currently in soft-open previews, which means irregular, unscheduled serving hours. The gift shop and take-out section appear to be open full-time, though, so you can see a healthy chunk of City Walk's newest attraction even if you don't get seated.

But luck was with us, you guys: WE GOT SEATED.

Not only that, we were the very first diners seated that day. And yes, I was screeching nonstop the entire time.

But enough talk, because I took nearly 400 photos, and I wanna see how many I can cram into one post.

There's a lot of movement to the exterior: the overhead gears turn, those golden twists on the left  rotate, and those giant brass canisters on the right have gauge needles that spin.

Obligatory HDR shot, taken with my iPhone.

We should probably go in now, huh?

Up the entry stairs and into the lobby, where the overhead view is so spectacular it needs a panorama:

(Click to embiggen)

It's a definite WOW moment.

The ceiling is a labyrinth of pipework and shiny copper cauldrons. Look to the right:
 ... and you'll see into the gift-and-candy shop area.

To the left is the Dessert Foundry:
 A wrap-around service counter and seating area, where you can enjoy Toothsome's enormous, extravagant milkshakes. (Some have entire cupcakes jammed on top.)

Other than some nice couches and pipework, there's not too much to see on the Foundry side. I did ask one of the servers for a photo, though, so you can see their awesome "uniforms."

Geared fascinator/headband! Laced waist-cincher! The ladies have delicate necklaces, and the gents have tie brooches. They don't all match, either; the staff is given a choice of accessories, and each section of the attraction has a different clothing style, so there is variety everywhere you turn.

 Here's the front reservation desk, and the lovely Kayla, who we chatted with quite a bit. (See how she caught me trying to sneak a picture while she was talking to John?)

John and I arrived around 2:15, and were told they should start taking names for dining sometime before 4. I happily began photographing everything in sight, only stopping to squeal and/or yank on John's arm in excitement. I was dressed in my "everyday steampunk": boots, skirt, newsboy cap, etc., which I'm sure stood out a bit in the sea of tank-top wearing tourists. (Did I mention it was 91 degrees? ACK.) My outfit plus the squealing probably tipped everyone off that this was a real "dream coming true" moment, so after a while Kayla very sweetly called us over to tell us exactly when they'd begin taking names.

At 3:30 on the dot we were first in line, practically vibrating with excitement. And about 20 minutes later, when we were led back into the empty, glowing dining room... !! AH! I can't. I can't even. IT IS TOO MUCH.

And you're gonna have to wait to see it, because first: GIFT SHOP TIME.

 I promise you'll still get plenty of eye candy here.
A panorama from the back corner. The main entrance is way over to the left.

Closest to the entry is the gourmet chocolate counter:

Chocolate gears galore!

Plus lots more goodies like this:

Behind this counter is where you get your first taste (pun intended) of the exquisite level of detail and theming put into Toothsome:

(Again, click any to embiggen; there is SO much to see.)

Gadgets, sculptures, 'punked antiques, and even a leather arm gauntlet!

Lining the enormous front-facing windows are these floor-to-ceiling gridwork shelves:

... filled with some of the best gift-shop merch I've ever seen, and at surprisingly reasonable prices:

I believe all of these were under $100 - some in the $60 range - and those are just a few of my favorites. There are many, many more.

This little owl - who sits in the palm of my hand - was only $35:

Now back to the shop for some of my favorite elements:

A gorgeous spiral staircase, packed with steampunk treasures, and:

The "candy floss" station, where giant copper pipes feed into copper gumball machines.

Bright colors, shiny copper, candy, and steampunk? THIS THING WAS MADE FOR ME.

And I, uh, took a lot of pictures of it.

Check out the black-and-gold geared wallpaper to the left here:

That's a second counter in the back, filled with cupcakes and other sweets like these "chocolate salted caramel shots":


Everywhere you look there are beautiful glass apothecary bottles filled with liquid or powder candy:

These start at just $10, so they're a great souvenir - though I do wish the glass itself had Toothsome's logo etched in it.

There are lots of t-shirts, from the stunning to the silly:

And even more merchandise:

This leather-trimmed bag made me wince at $90, but it IS fabulous.

 The jewelry display was familiar; I've seen this manufacturer at cons before. The prices seemed to be about the same, though, so it's nice to see little-to-no theme park inflation going on.

 More statues and figurines:
 The propeller bookends were especially tempting.

And another fancy display of chocolate bars:

The chocolate bars were a walloping $13 each, so I think I'd stick with the pretty glass bottles for a souvenir. That said, they are very fancy chocolate bars:

While we were browsing we were given a free sample of Toothsome's Bourbon Marshmallows, which tasted exactly like a bourbon marshmallow. Which is to say very good. :)

I'm going to end here for now, guys, but before you groan TOO loudly, allow me to placate you with one more panorama... of the interior dining room:


Many more pictures of this magical place, including video of the animated "windows," our interactions with the Dr. Toothsome and her robot manservant Jacques, PLUS photos and reviews of the food, all coming up next.

Stay tuned!


  1. I


  2. Once again I find myself stuck on the wrong continent! Amazing place!

  3. Good googliemooglie. I mean wow. I'm just, yeah, I can't even at the moment. I'm in love. I'm going to start a large jar to fund a trip to go here. (And a couple of other places so the kids aren't mad we drove there and only hit this place up. But the chef kid has already told me it's a must trip ;) )

  4. So may pretty photos!! Thanks for sharing and I can't wait to see the rest of the photos!!!

  5. I just realized it's been entirely too long since I set foot in a candy store. LOL

  6. i want to go here tomorrow!!!!

  7. Well crap. Now my life goals are all in disarray as "visiting this place" now clamours with "visit macchu picchu" for top spot.
    ...I'll bet Macchu Picchu doesn't have a dessert bar.

  8. Why, why WHY could they not have been open when we were there?!

    Can't wait for more photos. Thanks for posting this rather quickly. You know we were all dying to see!

    -Just Andrea

  9. Eeek! We are going to Universal in October, must make time to visit

  10. Ooh, I can't wait to hear about what you ate.

  11. Squeeeeeee!!!! Please, sir (ma'am), I want some more!!!!!

  12. I'm so jealous of all the cool stuff you get to see and do! Can't wait for the next set of pictures!

  13. Must work on planning trip now!

  14. That. looks. AMAZEBALLS! I'm soo looking forward to more pictures!

  15. Squeeeeeeeeeee! 😁😁😁😁😁😁😁😁 😍

  16. Oh. Em. Gee. I can't wait for the next installment, and I def can't wait to get there. I hope they'll be fully open by Sept. 23rd!

  17. Moar.Photos.Now.Please! I see yet another jar set aside to fund a trip to this place. So much chocolate.....yum!

  18. I actually want to come back to Florida, just for THIS.

  19. ROAD TRIP!!!!! Can they build one in California too please???!!!

  20. Don't want to stay tuned, we want dining room pix now!

  21. I WANT TO GO TO THERE!!!!!!!!!!

  22. you are the sweetest person on the internet. I love your enthusiasm. it cheers me up no end. x

  23. I'll be in Orlando for a conference next year. Is the restaurant part of the park? or can you go to the restaurant w/o paying park admission?

    1. Outside of the park, so no ticket needed. :)

    2. It's part of City Walk, which spans the gap between Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. You have to pay $20 to park on the property, but there is no admission fee to City Walk

  24. So incredibly awesome!!! And as always, love, love, love your gorgeous photography and amazing commentary. I always feel as if we're the best of friends traveling together to explore all these fun places (in a very non-stalkery way - promise!)

  25. Thank you for taking us with you. That said, I am about to cry real tears because I can't go there right now.

  26. I want all the things!!! I wish I could live there.

  27. *Googles Orlando flights*
    *gets discouraged*

    "Sigh... maybe next year"

    --Piper P from Washington State

  28. WONDERFUL!!! :) Never been to City Walk, WHAT AM I WAITING FOR!!

  29. UHHH looks as if wwe have to vistit Universal (can't get enough potter anyway or jump the falls in jurasic Park for the x-times again),... ;-) wanted to go to Disney this time (will be spring 2017) but it looks a s if we need to detour by the city walk,...
    Susan (Vienna, Austria)
    And your page is REALLY faboulus(I just star to dabble in Steampunk...)
    Thank you very much

  30. Do you have to buy tickets to Universal to get to the restaurant? Sigh, it's so expensive to get into the park.


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