Talkin' chocolate with Max Brenner, the Bald Man

Max Brenner -- the public face behind the international Max Brenner, Chocolate by the Bald Man restaurant chain -- visited his forthcoming Philly eatery today on his way to Australia.

Projected opening at 1500 Walnut St., assuming that today's health inspection goes well, is July 1. The plywood that encased the facade on 15th Street just south of Walnut came down this morning, and passersby are peeking in.

Here are the basics:

Brenner, 41, who started out with a chocolate shop in his native Israel, owns more than two dozen restaurants: Israel (6 locations), Australia (16), the Philippines (2), Singapore (1) and New York (2).

Hours will start at 9 a.m. for breakfast and will segue into brunch/lunch. There are full dinner and late-night menus. (See menus here.) Chocolate figures into much of the food, but there are enough savory items.

There's a chocolate shop that sells chocolate by the pound, wrapped chocolates and products containing cocoa, including body creams.

And here's a secret:  At the entrance are vats of milk and white chocolate hooked up to a series of pipes that traverse the ceiling and end up at the "chocolate bar" and in the retail store. They're just for show. Brenner told me that he tried piping chocolate before and it just didn't work.

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