Cupcakes have stood the test of time. Like a cake, but smaller, they give us all the dessert satisfaction we need without feeling like a glutton. That's probably why Lakeview
has been anticipating the opening of Phoebe's so heartily. The cute robin's egg blue walls and dark wooden tables and chairs give the place a coffee shop feel with a bakery heart. Phoebe Walters (for whom the shop is named) opened the bakery with her friend Kate McNamara, the executive pastry chef. The two decided after attending culinary school together that they wanted to open their own bakery. They decided on Chicago because Walters believes it's "the best city" due to the foot traffic and general overall awesomeness.
The two came up with the menu for this cupcake palace by challenging each other to a series of cupcake-offs. If they wanted to make a pumpkin cupcake, for example, each chef would prepare one and the winner ended up on the menu, which features 200 cupcake versions. Specialties include the tiramisu, featuring yellow cakes soaked in espresso with a marsala wine cream cheese frosting dusted with extra brute cocoa; and the sparkling pear, with fresh Bartlet pear cake with a champagne butter cream topped with silver dragees. You might think all this sweet munificence would come at a high price, but cupcakes are only $2.50 and a cup of coffee is under $2.
All the ingredients for the cupcakes are all-natural like whole vanilla beans and fresh fruit. Each week the bakery will feature five flavors of cupcake (always a chocolate and vanilla) as well as three specialty flavors. Phoebe's will do special orders for weddings and birthday parties and is committed to helping each customer navigate through the many flavors to find the one that's right for them.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Christy Bonstell