A bakery lauded for its cookies is opening a second location this fall in Lincoln Park. Warm Belly Bakery, which opened its first shop back in 2016 in the West Loop, announced it’s coming to 2472 N. Clark Street. Inspired by pastry chef Christina Tosi of famed Momofuku Milk Bar, the Warm Belly crew has produced a lineup of decadent cookies. Baker/owner Joe Dela Peña offers cookies, muffins, and other pastries, as well as a full espresso bar with drinks from Dark Matter Coffee.
Dela Peña said he’s targeting a September opening and they’ll have some special cookie varieties only available in Lincoln Park. Over in the West Loop, Warm Belly’s menu includes 70 or so cookies including Mexican hot chocolate, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and PB&J. The cookies weigh about a quarter pound and aren’t for fans of thin and crispy cookies. They are dense and doughy.
“If you enjoy licking raw cookie dough off a spatula while at the hip of your mother, like I did I was a kid, you’ll like our cookies,” Dela Peña said.
The Lincoln Park location is smaller, and will receive cookie deliveries daily from the West Loop. They’re expanding the kitchen at the original location to handle more baking. The new location will have a patio with four or five tables. They’re also working on gourmet soft-serve ice cream which can easily pair with cookies for an ice cream sandwich. They’ll also have the full espresso bar.
Dela Peña is aware of the raw cookie dough trend, as Chicago recently welcomed the city’s first scooped raw cookie dough cafe at Water Tower Place. From time to time, Warm Belly has offered scooped raw cookie dough (it’s safe to eat as it’s eggless and made with heat-treated flour). Dela Peña doesn’t see it as competition for pastries. Raw cookie dough is more competition for ice cream shops, he said.
Dela Peña is a native of suburban Orland Park who taught high school English and coached tennis. Back in 2013, Dela Pena won $13,000 while appearing as a contestant on Who Wants to be a Millionaire? When asked what he would do with $1 million, he replied he’d open a bakery. “That was the first time I said it out loud,” Dela Peña said.
Clark Street in Lincoln Park is cluttered with dessert destinations including Stan’s Donuts, Firecakes, and Molly’s Cupcakes. Dela Peña called it a “Sugar Corridor.” He’ll celebrate his Lincoln Park dessert destination by making a big splash, whether it’s with a new flavor or a collaboration with an area restaurant. Dela Peña has already caused a commotion with his announcement via a Facebook video. That’s him dressed up in the suit dancing around in front of the new location.
“When you’re owner you have to wear a lot of hats,” he said. “I gladly jumped in the suit and did a little diddy.”
We're coming for you Lincoln Park/Lakeview! See us this Fall at 2472 N. Clark Street!Posted by Warm Belly Bakery on Monday, July 23, 2018