A trip to Key West, Florida, can feel like a journey to the edge of the earth. Dangling away deep into the water where the Atlantic meets the Gulf of Mexico, the tiny island is more than suited for abandoning inhibitions in a sea of near-toxic blender drinks and gem-colored beach decor.
Even the dessert options in Key West know how to party, and were not talking about a touristy slice of pre-fab Key lime pie. Since 2008, a specialty dessert spot named Better Than Sex has drawn raves from customers and critics alike. With dishes named Double Stuffed (Oreo bread pudding) and Man Flowers (an “erect” chocolate stout cake, according to the menu), the dessert-specific cafe has a lusty, adults-only edge that’s not all that edgy for the year-round Carnivale that is Key West.
But what about for Plano? How many suburban oasis dwellers will hurry out for a “four way” of shooters named Gang Bang? How about heading to Plano’s historic, revitalized downtown for a cocktail or coffee complete with a chocolate “rim job”? The husband-and-wife team of Derrick Miller and Shelia Phalen-Miller are bringing Better Than Sex to the ’burbs of Texas, and they’re not too worried about how the free love of the Florida Keys will translate to Plano.
“I think anyone who would consider being a franchise owner of this concept would have this cross their mind, no matter what market they are in,” Derrick says. “Yes, the concept started in Key West, which is more of a free-spirited vacation spot, but it moved successfully into the Orlando market, which is very family-oriented. The Orlando location has been given awards for ‘Best Date Night’ among a few others, and families come from all over the world to Orlando.”
The Millers live in North Texas now, but their love of this specific cafe started a few years ago while living in Florida, when they would visit the Key West location. But a fateful conversation with “Mama Jean,” the mother of one of the original location’s owners, during a date-night visit to the Orlando BTS, compelled Derek and Shelia to get the wheels moving toward acquiring their own franchise.
But back to whether a sex-focused concept will go over well in Plano: Miller says the true spirit of the place will lie not in what’s printed on the menu, but in the cafe once you step inside to, you know, wrap your lips around a Banana Bazooka.
“Yes, there are innuendos on the menu,” Miller says. “But the atmosphere is classy, romantic, and the desserts are a master craft of perfection.”
And let’s not forget Plano is home to its fair share of harassment-dodging breastaurants. Tight Ends, on the north edge of town bordering Frisco, has thrived for years through lingerie-clad waitresses serving brisket-stuffed jalapeños known as “B.J.s,” so it's not as though Plano doesn’t treasure sexed-up food as much as it does its megachurches.
The people-watching at Better Than Sex will center more on couples getting close, and not guys burning eye lasers into a pair of painted-on daisy dukes. According to Miller, sophistication will be as key an ingredient as the whip cream-covered vanilla balls.
“Our concept cultivates romance and connections,” he says. “The booths and tables are enclosed on 3 sides to offer a more private experience. The drapes, curtains, chandeliers and candlelight create an environment conducive for a romantic evening or special occasion, even when there’s nothing to celebrate. It’s a place to give your significant other undivided attention and sole focus.”
Given how popular Key West and Orlando are as vacation spots, it’s not surprising to learn that Miller has already been inundated with questions about what’s in store for Plano when Better Than Sex opens its doors for a projected June debut.
“We have people calling us every night and especially on Saturdays to see if we are open yet,” he says.
And besides, if Plano is the sort of homey, family-first suburb we all think it is, then shouldn’t we all assume the best for how well Better Than Sex will be received? If cozy, intimate, candlelit booths suited for feeding your partner a playful bite of a naughty dessert isn’t all about Mom and Dad having a bit of quality adult time, then Miller doesn’t know what it is.
“If that doesn’t bode well for the folks in the area leading families," he says, "I don’t know what would!”