Dessert at lunch? How sweet it could be at The Universal

I didn't think much about dessert at The Universal, which I review this week, until I'd finished my tempeh banh mi. "Will that do it for you?" the server asked as she came to clear our plates. When we inquired about sweets, she said they didn't have any. I knew that the kitchen bakes the occasional chocolate chip cookie, but apparently not on that day. "I don't really want to get into dessert," explained co-owner Steven Sharp, when I later asked him about the lack of desserts. "I never eat dessert at lunch."

I don't either -- usually. But sometimes I want to, and this got me thinking. Could Sharp be missing out on business just because mid-day desserts aren't his thing?

See also: - At The Universal, biscuits rise to the occasion -- but the grits fall flat - Photos: Behind the scenes at the Universal - Best Dessert to Make Your Southern Grandmother Swoon 2013

So I checked around to see how a few other lunch spots handle the issue.

"I don't like to eat dessert at lunch, either," admitted Lee Goodfriend, co-owner of Racines. "I like to eat it at night, but I still think my customers should choose." That's why the ever-popular peach cobbler is served all day.

At Annie's Cafe, day-floor manager Marla Reeder estimates that about a third of the tables order dessert at lunch, especially in the summer when people seek cold comfort in malts, sundaes and milkshakes.

The number of lunchtime indulgers is slightly lower at Cherry Creek Grill, but general manager Kyle Frasure says that staples like banana cream pie and homemade Oreo cookies remain strong sellers both noon and night.

And at Parisi, where treats are always available in the deli, gelato, citrus olive oil cake and tiramisu are too good for many lunchtime guests to turn down.

Anecdotally, at least, the evidence makes a strong case for more batches of chocolate chip cookies at the Universal. (Hint, hint.)

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