When I first heard about the 2d café phenomenon in tourist cities around the globe, I imagined stepping through a swirling portal to another dimension, trillions of cells in my body morphing and twisting, compressing into a flat paper doll. Is there anything thinner than paper?
In this new 2d realm, I would sidestep to the café counter, order a decaf coffee, and sit down to sip it while looking to the right, Egyptian hieroglyph style.
When we visited 2d Restaurant on the north side of Chicago, our experience was as thrilling as I’d imagined; no less other-worldly, but without the anatomy warping. Instead of flattening customers upon entering, this café transports visitors into a monochrome illusion, straight out of a newspaper or coloring book.
By painting the walls, chairs and tables white with black outlines, the space transforms into a smooth plane with little depth, at least to your brain.
Out on the off-limits patio, we could see them painting more chairs, a peek behind the scenes at the trickery in progress.
The only pop of color in this cartoon world are the vibrant pon-de-ring mochi donuts covered in splashes of yellow, pink and blue. Have you ever tried a mochi donut?
Beyond its signature flower shape (or baby teething ring, if you prefer), these Japanese breakfast pastries differentiate themselves with their rice flour dough, which is slightly denser and chewier than traditional yeast donuts.
Brandon and I first tried them at the international mall Hawaii at the Mitsuwa Japanese market.
Our donuts came in this fun Godzilla and 2d superhero chicken box.
After picking up our lattes at the cafe counter, we sat down to dig into the donuts.
These treats looked too good to be true, their flavors mimicking the cartoonish nature of the café around them. The result was donuts that reminded us more of candy than natural fruit.
Next time, we may only get one to share instead of all eight flavors to try. Hey, I had to get some good photos of the whole set!
Our favorites were the fresh strawberry sandwich, chocolate cookie crumble, and the coconut vanilla, shown here with blue icing and a gummy bear.
Flavors from left to right: Coconut Vanilla, Strawberry, Pina Colada, Matcha, Chocolate-dipped Cinnamon Churro, and S’mores with a toasted marshmallow.
Such a cute idea, who thinks of these things?
This helpful drawing of the restaurant's interior helps orient guests as they wait in line to enter the café, and prepare them to order quickly, take photos, then find a seat.
The 2d Restaurant also sells fried chicken, which explains the seemingly random chicken sub-theme.
Diagrams showing how to make the perfect espresso drinks.
Do you like my outfit? I chose it specifically to blend in and stand out at the 2d Restaurant!
Thanks for visiting the 2d Restaurant in Chicago with us! Click below to read more of our Chicagoland adventures: