Kids love to eat out. But during this time of year, they love to drink out (hot chocolate, that is) even more. Whether you want your cocoa to go on a brisk winter walk or prefer to settle in for a mug topped with whipped cream, we know where around the DMV to find the chocolate you seek.
Photo: NiceCream Factory
Well known in North Arlington and beyond for their innovative, nitrogen-fueled approach to ice cream, Nicecream doesn’t close up their shop on Clarendon Boulevard when ice cream goes out of season. They just add decadent hot cocoas to their menu. If you loved their Nutella ice cream, then stop in and make the seasonal switch to Nutella Hot Chocolate. Take it to go or hang around and let your kids watch a batch of fresh ice cream being made.
2831 Clarendon Blvd., (Arlington)
Did you know that hot chocolate goes incredibly well with beignets? Don’t worry about the inevitable powdered-sugar-mixed-with-whipped cream mess (or the resulting sugar high). Just slide into a booth or settle on a couch and enjoy the warm thoughts of New Orleans as you wrap your fingers around a mug. With NOLA inspired décor, Bayou Bakery is a fun place to hang out with the kids on a cold day.
Bayou Bakery, Arlington
1515 N Clarendon Blvd.
Bayou Bakery, Capital Hill
901 Pennsylvania Ave., SE
Photo: Co Co Sala
Co Co Sala
With prime placement on any hot cocoa list in the district, you can probably get all the info you need just from their name. Specializing in an artful and delicious use of chocolate in everything from their meals (their Asparagus & Kale tart has dark chocolate pretzel bits) to their desserts (one is called “Some more co co”), it’s no surprise that they’ve mastered the art of drinking chocolate, too. Available in a variety of flavors, Co Co Sala takes the idea of hot cocoa to a whole new level.
929 F St., NW
Don’t let their vegan ways scare you. If this little shop can make a TV-worthy cupcake, you can trust that their drinking chocolate will be decadent. The sweet little café seating area is reminiscent of an old-fashioned diner and perfect for little kids to hang around. Located in the heart of bustling Columbia Heights, there is plenty to do and see if you want to get yours to go.
1370 Park Rd., NW (Columbia Heights)
The Sweet Lobby
There may be a link between Cupcake Wars-winning cupcakes and amazing hot cocoa because like Sticky Fingers, The Sweet Lobby has both. Promising to be the ‘ultimate advocate for your sweet tooth,’ The Sweet Lobby’s European Style Hot Chocolate will remind you of staring out the window at a sweet European street. And if your kids prefer marshmallows to whipped cream, then the house-made ones here are sure to please.
404 8th St., SE
Mitsitam Café at the American Indian Museum
Steeped in culture and history, and located inside a fantastic museum, the hot cocoa in the Mitsitam Café is the perfect treat to add to your museum visit. This café is well known throughout the area for their amazing food and now you can top off your meal with a hot cocoa inspired by recipes from the Mayans and Aztecs.
950 Independence Ave.
Photo: clappstar via Flickr
The best part about SPAGnVOLA is that it’s not just a café, it’s a factory with regular tours. Perfect for a cold day when you just want to be inside and surrounded by the intoxicating and cozy aroma of chocolate.
360 Main St. (Gaithersburg, Md)
Located inside Westfield Mall, you’ll want to treat kiddo to this cup-of-cocoa before hitting up the play area on the first floor (near Sears). The sugar rush is intense (and oh-so-good) since baristas literally pour steamed milk over chunks of chocolate bars and a heaping of marshmallows. Insider secret: don’t forget to scoop up the warm gooey leftovers at the bottom of the cup afterwards.
7101 Democracy Blvd. (Bethesda, Md)
Where do you satisfy your hot cocoa cravings?
–Ayren Jackson-Cannady and Tricia Mirchandani