photo: courtesy of Swirlz
Inspired by the notion that "cupcakes make people happy," Four Unlikely Friends (the name of Swirlz' founding company, as well as an apt description of the bakery's owners) started this Lincoln Park cupcake joint in fall 2006. Behind the frosting and baking stand an opera singer; the owner of a health care counseling company and two creative marketing savants. The diverse group is united by a desire to eat cupcakes all day, every day, and they decided that the rest of Chicago may as well enjoy the same privilege.
The name of the mostly-takeout bakery refers to a melding of exotic frosting flavors; at Swirlz, baked-daily cakes are topped with the likes of chocolate, peanut butter, lemon, pomegranate and mint frosting made from Italian buttercream. Underneath, vanilla, chocolate or red velvet cakes are made from the stuff of chichi European patisseries (think French butter), and the spongy treasures are topped with beyond-the-typical-sprinkle treats like candied jalapenos and chocolate-covered sunflower seeds. Frosting flavors change daily, so if you need your coco-caramel fix, check the website to see what's being churned up each day. Cakes cost $3 apiece.
Tasty tips: Cupcakes can be ordered in advance and delivered locally or to your car via curbside delivery. There's also onsite wi-fi access should you want to surf while you sup.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Jennifer Berg