A popular West Loop cookie bakery this week opened a Lincoln Park location, just in time for Sunday’s Chicago Marathon which will cross right in front of the store on Clark Street. WarmBelly Bakery is ready to tempt fans and runners with Nutella-stuffed cookies, and other sweet carbs. It’ll also serve a special Dark Matter Coffee roast at 2472 N. Clark Street.
Owner Joe Dela Peña opened his first bakery in 2016, and he takes baking seriously. He idolizes Julia Child and last year for her birthday he debuted a special cookie: “The Lincoln.” It merged his love for the famous chef with his love for the 16th president. It’s inspired by Child’s favorite cake, Reine de Saba (Queen of Sheba), and Lincoln’s inauguration. Dela Peña described how at the inauguration, back in 1865, that guests were served almond and chocolate for dessert. The cookie takes all those flavors and combines them.
“I’m a nerd,” Dela Peña, quite possibly the only person who would associate Child and Lincoln, said on Wednesday.
The cookie will be available exclusively in Lincoln Park as a special. But Del Peña is willing to see how the public reacts. That philosophy applies to the cookie selections and business hours. The store has a pick-up window in front which should be handy for late-night business to serve customers of nearby bars like Frank’s, Gaslight, and the Field House.
Warm Belly’s cookies are denser than most with flavors like PB&J, salted butterscotch toffee, and maple-bacon bourbon. There’s also a special purple ube cookie celebrating Del Penã’s Filipino roots. He’s got a rotating menu of about 70 cookies.
There’s been quite a few changes in the area. Right next door, Fat Shallot opened last week. The traffic has snarled along Clark for months, but workers were busy on Wednesday resurfacing the street. Marathon runners wouldn’t be happy with uneven surfaces.
Speaking of the marathon, Dela Peña said the bakery’s mascot will be on hand to cheer runners on during the race. In July, Dela Peña dressed up in the costume which looks like an gingerbread man with a round chocolate chip cookie for a belly. Fans have since named the mascot “Dough Joe.” Dela Peña plans to convince someone else to don the threads this time around.
Warm Belly Bakery is now open.
Warm Belly Bakery, 2472 N. Clark Street, open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.