The Sugar Factory is not “new.” As a matter of fact, I found myself scratching my head over the pop culture success since founder Charissa Davidovici, elementary school teacher turned entrepreneur, opened the first location in 2010 in Las Vegas.
Back then the craze was the Couture Lollipop retailing at around $30, available in 10 flavors, and presented in a blinged apparatus that was not only fancy but practical as it allowed you to keep your lollipop for later without ruining the inside of your purse because “everyone loves everything bling” according to Davidovici.
Seriously, writing this, I cannot decide if it is brilliant or if people need to find a hobby.
If you followed the opening of Sugar Factory, you may also follow the Bravo franchise series ‘The Real Housewives’. Shortly after the first Sugar Factory location opened, the Beverly Hills Housewives took a trip to Vegas. You may recall Dana Wilkey, a “friend” on the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, sporting a 250 carat $1 million dollar lollipop holder lent to her by Sugar Factory. The show aired in October 2011.
So post 2008 recession, blinged candy and candy holders were a thing. This bounce back is what makes America great. It also keeps me out of trouble when I spend on something frivolous. Because I can always say “well at least I didn’t buy a million dollar lollipop holder.”
I would not buy a lollipop holder period.
Walls lined with bulk candy, fancy lollipops and gummy bears that looked like they were on steroids were just the beginning of what would become a pop culture phenomenon over the next decade.
Celebrities at Sugar Factory
Celebrities like Heidi Klum, Mariah Carey, and Cedric the Entertainer began to flock to the location for photo ops. Kris Jenner actually branded those $25-$30 lollipops in 2010 getting her hands in the Sugar Factory craze. Off into the universe, Sugar Factory infiltrated the world like a small toddler who had too much candy and could not stop spinning in rapid circles.
To account for the rapid growth, Sugar Factory did franchise in 2014.
Three locations in Las Vegas, three in New York City, three in Dubai, two in Southern California and many more from Bellevue, Washington to Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut (I visited this location and reported back on AlphaLuxe HERE and HERE.)
Review Sugar Factory at Broadway, New York City
I decided it was time to have a proper sit down at my nearest Sugar Factory, nine years into the phenomenon.
What can I say? I am a skeptical New Yorker and sometimes it takes me a little longer to warm up. No judgement please.
I grabbed a few kids and off we went for some tasting at 4-in-the-afternoon because that is how this high roller rolls. My visit was at the Upper West Side location that I walk past daily on Broadway. This spot used to house Ollie’s Noodle Shop. I had never been there either.
1991 Broadway, New York, NY 10023
The white tile and ceiling-to-floor windows still stand in what makes a communal sitting area, open daily to the public. A venture further back in the space and visitors quickly discover bulk candy and those gummy bears on steroids that make funny gifts but I hope no person actually ever eats.
After entering another white door and checking in with a hostess, we see white tile, gold disco balls and a giant white marble bar are accented with red booths and crazy artwork. The music is loud and upbeat. The menu is a book a la The Cheesecake Factory with an admittedly creative spin on run of the mill favorites like burgers and breakfast fare.
The drink menu is expansive and features sugary martinis galore.
The Goblet Signature Drinks, 60 oz. $29 and meant for at least two people, can be made with or without alcohol, so off the bat, my dining companions ordered “Ocean Blue.” Around this time I began to realize that I am old and/or extremely uptight because all I could think about was the calorie content and how bad food coloring is for your body.
The presentation of the drink was awesome. The bright blue, the smoke, the gummy sharks swimming at the bottom; it is totally out of my comfort zone. I will give it an A+ on presentation. Taste? The kids loved it and told me it tasted like fruit punch.
After fishing the gummy sharks out of the drink, my little friends decided to each order an “Insane Milkshake.” One Tie Dye Milkshake and one Cookie Monster straight up, both for $16 a pop.
Suddenly there were candy necklaces, pop rocks, traces of M&Ms and cookies everywhere. The boys were silent and in a sugar-induced trance where between sips they would touch the accessorized drinks as though to wonder if the drinks were real, asking themselves, “Am I dreaming?”
An order of chicken fingers and fries which were long forgotten arrived, although at this point I could tell that they were experiencing some legit overstuffed feelings.
The Chocolate Fondue that they were so excited to try made it to our table last. Marshmallows, fruit and a large plate of melted chocolate found its way to our table.
The boys dabbled with it and thought the chocolate was too bitter, although I would imagine after all of the sugar leading up that anything would not taste right.
The thing about Sugar Factory is you can not beat this for a special occasion or celebration for a small or large group. Many of the locations have the capacity to host large parties in a private room. The draw is really in the details of the specialty items that make way to your table.
The experience itself is just what it set out to be in 2010. Fun, blingy and over the top. You certainly find yourself peering around to see what creations come out to the other tables and it’s a great place to make some family memories.
Angela Ranieri joins us as Contributing Writer with an extensive background in Fashion, Beauty and Digital Media. Her credits include Sales and Marketing for with PRADA USA Corp., followed by a jump in to the world of beauty as an Esthetician followed by Spa Manager at Jurlique, Spa Manager and Client Relationship Manager and Digital Business Development coordinator position at Amore Pacific where celebrity clients were and remain confidential and her column, “Ask Angela,” was featured on the Amore Pacific USA website. She has also been a contributor for Beauty to Shape and Fitness Magazines.
A side job as a Hospital Victim on “As the World Turns,” and a correspondent on the now defunct lifestyle web series “Tangerine Living,” Angela is no stranger to juggling multiple positions and has built quite the resume. A move to The New York Daily News as Training and Employee Relations Manager with a night and weekend gig as make up artist for runway shows, (she studies in Los Angeles with Amy Ward) including Vogue Bambino and multiple commercials, Angela became a Mom, her best and most important credit to date.
Since Motherhood, Angela has been a Brand Ambassador for the skin line Patchology, featured in Saks Fifth Avenue in store and on air with CBS News segment “Patch me Pretty.” She has been a beauty guest for QVC, and the founder of her own social media communications business, helping business owners to share their digital voice. Actively involved with Smart Children with Learning Differences, her most favorite down time hobby is discovering the best in beauty, travel and fashion around the United States.
Angela is a graduate of Syracuse University with a BS in Communications and Writing, where she appeared on the University Union News as an Anchor and on The Beat of Syracuse, Z89 as a DJ. Angela has an MBA in Marketing and Entrepreneurship from Northeastern University. While at Northeastern, her Market Research on the Electric Car was published for University use.
Working with AlphaLuxe is a unique opportunity, “to share what I am most passionate about. Living your best life. In her spare time, you can find Angela running, practicing yoga, taking her son to one of his sports practices. She resides on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with her husband, son, and chihuahuas.