The Sugar Factory – one of the Mississippi Gulf Coast’s most recent additions – can best be described as the Willie Wonka Candy Factory all grown up.
Floor to ceiling candy confections of all kinds punctuated by over-the-top colorful adult drinks and capped off with glittery chandeliers is what you’d find when you follow the quick maze to the new restaurant and bar at Hard Rock Casino.
Even the more standard dishes like burgers come with colorful buns ice-cream shakes are given an Instagram-worthy makeover of being served in glasses that are coated on the outside in chocolate and sprinkles.
It’s honestly a jaw-dropping experience for the restaurant that will have a formal grand opening on March 29 complete with DJ, comedian, and host of MTV’s Wild ‘N Out, Nick Cannon who will spin records from 7-10 p.m.
It’s a place where you can go with a gaggle of friends and have an awesome time. Kids are welcome as well, but it’s admittedly not a comfortable choice to take them considering the location is just off the casino floor. It is absolutely being marketed to a young, hip and social-media savvy crowd. As music is pumped into the restaurant, mega-sized TV screens on parallel walls show photos and videos of major social media influencers like the Kardashians and celebrities like will.i.am.
While the new hot spot doesn’t skip a beat when it comes to the larger-than-life brand, they still have a few minor kinks to work out when it comes to the food and the service.
My teenage son ordered the fettuccine alfredo that was an above-average presentation of the common dish. My younger daughter and the hubby decided to share some rainbow sliders – a colorful plate of mini burgers to came adorned with a rubber duck. It was a big hit with my daughter.
However, when I ordered one of their gourmet burgers called The South Beach Flair, they presented the burger without the listed side of plantains. What should have been an easy fix turned into a strange encounter when – despite my request to see the menu again – the waitress and a manager she conferred with continued to insist that the order was correct. A second manager, however, saw the scenario, actually checked their menu and confirmed that the order was lacking. It was corrected and apologies were made, so I’m chalking it up to early pre-grand opening jitters.
But I’d like to believe that they’ll take as much care is taking care of their customers as they do in the marketing and branding aspects. Ultimately, that is what will keep customers coming back for more.
I recommended the Sugar Factory as worthy of a visit, but urge parents to be mindful of the adult-like setting despite the wall of candy and associated whimsy and glitter.