After Vernon Rudolph acquired a closely guarded yeast-raised Krispy Kreme Doughnuts recipe from a New Orleans pastry chef, he shared his appreciation for delectable disks by opening shop in 1937 and selling the first Krispy Kremes to grocery stores. The wafting aroma of glazed Krispy Kreme Doughnuts increased demand for the sweet treats and caused Rudolph to redesign his building's layout to include a walkup window, Rudolph was able to sell them directly to any passing customer who demanded a snack. Later, he joined forces with equipment engineers, creating baking equipment that guaranteed uniform shape and dough consistency.
Rudolph's departure to a pastry-filled afterlife in 1973 did not stop Krispy Kreme from expanding into a global sensation and continuing to innovate. In recent years, the company enhanced the treat-retrieving experience by introducing a Hot Light that, when illuminated, indicates when Krispy Kreme Doughnuts are fresh off the conveyor belt.
Naked Chocolate Café serves a myriad of house-made chocolate goodies, cupcakes, and refreshing drinks. Step to the counter and ogle artfully composed cupcakes such as the savory red velvet and spiced carrot cake ($2.50–$2.75). Those who ache to acquire decadent chocolate can simply order the café's rich hot chocolate ($3.75–$6) or its refreshing frozen counterpart, which is topped with whipped cream and garnished with sprinkles ($4–$6). Or, fulfill a dream of having a computer in one's noggin with the café's computer-shaped chocolate molds ($4). A variety of other creatively shaped cocoa concoctions are also available on a daily changing basis.
Miller's Twist bakes warm and buttery soft pretzels in its cozy corner in the Reading Terminal market. Pretzels come fresh from the oven crisp and salty on the outside, pillowy and warm on the inside, like a crotchety professor with a heart of gold ($1.95). A roster of dipping sauces, including melty cheese, sweet honey mustard, and hot-and-spicy mustard, make flavor-diving decisions difficult ($0.40), and a brisk small lemonade washes down salty vestiges, making the experience unperceivable to the pizzeria you're dating ($2).
One of the longest-running local espresso establishments, Capriccio Cafe keeps eyelids ajar and hunger pangs at bay with specialty coffee drinks, fresh pastries, and grilled sandwiches. Enjoy a medium latte ($3.50) or a Ghirardelli mocha frappe ($4) to time-travel taste buds back to childhoods spent drinking steamed milk and chocolate syrup. Coffee lovers can also experience the liquid marshmallow sensation of a vanilla-seasoned latte ($3.35+) alongside breakfast treats including crumb cake ($2.25) and danishes ($2.75), which call out like Sirens to a sea of empty stomachs.
The focus at Max Brenner is on chocolate, but the restaurant’s menu also offers a slew of savory sandwiches, salads, and pastas, as well as brunch and kids’ options. Turn any power lunch into an awkwardly sensuous encounter with a burger selection, such as the standard, veggie, or turkey burger, all of which come with waffle fries dusted with chili and cocoa powder ($13.50–$13.95). The eclectic lineup covers everything from a southwestern caesar salad ($12.95) to fish tacos ($12.25) to the really cheesy, really crunchy mac ’n’ cheese, which oozes with marinara sauce, fresh tomatoes, and bacon ($13.95). Soothe a sweet tooth by delving into a dessert such as a chocolate-chunks pizza ($8.75 for half, $15.95 for full) bedecked with melty double-chocolate chunks and a choice of hazelnut bits, bananas, peanut butter, or roasted marshmallows—the pizza world’s number-one topping until the discovery of the pepperoni tree.