The Sweet Life.

When you first walk into Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Café in the heart of Midway, you are immediately greeted by a flurry of sensations. The smell of delicious fudge and caramel, made the old fashioned way right before your eyes. Display cases choc full of so many varieties of chocolate you almost give yourself whiplash trying to take it all in. No café would be complete without the aroma of hot coffee, fortunately Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Café serves fresh brew from Peet’s Coffee.

n my first visit, after taking in all the sights and smells, I was greeted by Lori and Eric Rutland, owners and managers of the café. Lori gave me the chance to employ my sense of taste with a sampling of their signature Rocky Mountain Fudge. I felt like one of those proverbial kids in a candy store, only it was quite literal for me. Why should kids have all the fun?

Lori and Eric are in so much more than just the chocolate business. With a career in Retail that stretches over thirty years, Lori explains, “Retail is just in my blood… I love the merchandising part. I’m very artistic and creative, but mostly, it’s just the people.” Lori, who graduated from BYU with a degree in marketing, goes on to describe their overall goal for opening Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Café, “We’re trying to create this little quaint shop, as our landlord calls it, the ‘Cheers’ of Midway.” The good news is that at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, you won’t need to sit through eleven seasons and all the “will they/won’t they” with Sam and Diane to find yourself a place “Where Everybody Knows Your Name.” Of course, the café is not a gathering place just for locals. Located down the road from the Zermatt, the Homestead, and several bed and breakfasts, Rocket Mountain Chocolate Factory Café gets plenty of foot traffic from tourists, honeymooners, and couples celebrating their anniversaries. Upon discovering the reason for their visit to Midway, Lori often gifts the couples a truffle to celebrate the occasion. Right across the street, visitors skating at the Midway Ice Rink can hardly resist a warm beverage after a cold skate in the winter. And who wouldn’t be excited for a reenergizing sweet treat during the fanfare of Swiss Days in September.

Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory is an international franchisor with over two-hundred-fifty Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory locations, including the café in Midway. Only three offer food alongside chocolate. According to Lori and Eric, they are the only store in Utah that sells Peet’s Coffee. “This is not Starbucks coffee,” Lori says, “We did our research on that and decided to go with Peets.” Peet’s Coffee uses only coffee beans that are reliably sourced and free from child labor and other harmful business practices. If coffee isn’t your thing, the café also serves hot cocoa made with Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory chocolate. They offer three types of sandwiches in the café. My personal favorite offering, though, is ice cream. Lori and Eric have partnered with Cloud Ninth Creamery, a local ice cream shop in Salt Lake, to bring exclusive flavors to the café. Eric explains, “What’s nice about going with them is we can kind of get our own flavors. I took [them] some blueberry donuts from Judy’s Donuts, and [they] put it into some lemon ice cream for us.” Lori and Eric have plenty of creative control for all the delicious confections they offer in the café. The waffle cones for the ice cream are made from scratch, with a unique variety offered each month, like red velvet in February for Valentine’s Day or green mint in March for St. Patrick’s Day.

But what about the eponymous chocolate? There’s plenty of that, and it’s absolutely divine. At their most recent convention, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory made a companywide goal for store owners to help customers create moments with chocolate. “They talked about how much chocolate is involved in people’s celebrations and different parts of their life,” Lori shares, “It’s kind of changed our outlook a little bit.” Before, they had been leaning into the café angle more than specializing in chocolate. Lori expounds, “We’re sort of going more with chocolate now because it’s an important part of our life.” And they have an incredible variety to create a special chocolate moment. Everything from boxes of chocolate to all the best things dipped in chocolate, cookies, pretzels, even Twinkies! Valentine’s Day is obviously one of the busiest times of the year for them. “Our big business is chocolate-dipped strawberries,” Eric explains with a smile. “We have to dip those every day; we sold out in two hours.” But the biggest labor of love for them is their handmade fudge. They offer eight different varieties, so it’s always in demand.

Each Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory store comes equipped with a copper kettle and marble slab for making fudge the old-fashioned way. “Once you start mixing the fudge, you’re in it for the long haul; you couldn’t even stop to use the restroom,” Eric laughs as he demonstrates the methods they use to craft their fudge. “It’s all based on temperature, and that temperature varies a little bit from the different times of the year, depending on the weather, humidity, cool, hot, that kind of thing. Once you get it up to temperature, that’s when you pour it onto the marble slab.” After pouring the fudge, Eric adds in the ingredients: mint, nuts, caramel, and even marshmallows for the Rocky Road Fudge. Finally, he forms the fudge into an eleven-pound loaf. “You’ve got to move. It’s a quick process,” Eric says. The smell of cooking fudge wafts throughout the store and the surrounding street. The copper kettle isn’t just for making fudge — they spin massive Granny Smith apples into elaborately decorated caramel apples weekly. There’s a special window where guests can view the whole intense candy-making process. If your heart is set on a demonstration, make sure to call ahead of time to see if they are planning on making a batch the day of your visit.

Lori and Eric are excited for the future of Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Café. In addition to cooking and helping Lori run the café, Eric has a background in construction; describing her husband, Lori says, “He does all the hard work, he does all the construction, and all the fixing, and that kind of stuff. He’s been very supportive.” With Eric’s construction experience, they decided to double the space in the store to make more seating for customers who wish to dine in. When I asked Eric what he thought when Lori told him she wanted to start the café, Eric mused and stated, “I grew up in Farmington, New Mexico, which is forty-five minutes from Durango, where Rocky Mountain started in 1981. So, I’ve been around Rocky Mountain Chocolate since I was in high school. I thought it was a good fit for Midway.” Lori is excited about the potential for growth in Midway, “A lot of people come here just for the atmosphere, to walk around, or to eat.”

Whether you’re a local looking for your own scene to frequent or visiting from a little farther away, you can make a special moment at Midway’s very own Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Café.

Treat Yourself or a Friend! 206 W Main St Suite B, Midway, @rmcfcafemidway

Search for: