We found ourselves in Des Plaines, IL today not too far from the birthplace of the Golden Arches, at a new cafe, B’s Sweet Bites (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bs-Sweet-Bites/259043267470836). This recently opened Bakery and Coffee Bar is a cute amalgam of old and new, bakery and coffee. It’s tucked away in a strip plaza, just west of Oakton and Mannheim.
When you step into B’s Sweet Bites, Bianca Vallone provides you with a nostalgic throwback; a converted doughnut shop / diner that now serves from scratch pastry and serving high end coffee. They don’t roast on-site, but serve up java from Chicago’s own Passionhouse Coffee Roasters (see PHCR review here –> http://yourdailycoffeeshot.com/jan-2014-coffee-review-passionhouse-coffeeroasters/). For all of you tea drinkers, they offer a plethora of flavors from Benjamin Teas.
The cafe at B’s Sweet Bites sports a homey and independent feel. Some of the lights don’t match and it merely adds to the charm. Although they prepare and serve great coffee, their primary focus is the baked items.
From the retail displays on the islands that split the cafe lengthwise, to the multitude of pastries under the rounded glass counters, B’s Sweet Bites showcases its product proudly. You can find everything from chocolate chip cookies and brownie bites, to artisan breads, pies, cakes, muffins and scones.
A challenge that B’s Sweet Bites has is its location, but that is also part of its charm. There are regulars that frequent, but there is plenty of space for new friends to come in, sit down, and enjoy. We weren’t the only people working on a laptop, and conducting business. In our visits we noticed a varied clientele, but definitely a 30+ crowd.
B’s Sweet Bites has a converted the old diner counter, encasing it in glass so you can sit, enjoy your coffee, and see the team at work. It also showcases their coffee bar which features La Marzocco hardware.
We ordered a 2% latte and a blueberry scone. The prices are in line with the industry average, with the latte at $4.75 range and the pastry in the $1.50 range. I wanted to pay in credit card, but the minimum is a $10 charge, so I picked up a couple of chocolate croissants to bring home. The the gentleman behind the counter was helpful in describing certain pastries, taking great pride in the cranberry orange scone, B’s Sweet Bites best seller. He asked if we were sitting down or heading out. Once we informed him that we were staying, he let us know that he would bring it out to us.
We hunkered down into a booth that had electricity. The Wi-Fi is strong, but the outlets are in short supply. Just a few minutes later our order arrived. The presentation focused on the baked item. They warmed the blueberry scone, and it glistened, covered in a honey-glaze. The cake itself was crisp on the outside and a little spongy on the inside. It consistency closer to a cake than a crumbly scone texture. None-the-less, it tasted fantastic, and the warming is a preferred touch.
I was slightly disappointed in the presentation and crafting of the latte. I hoped that the latte would be served in a heated mug topped by properly frothed milk , and maybe some simple art. The taste of the latte was okay, but not spectacular, my response partially dulled by my greater expectation of both presentation and preparation.
I do plan to go back to B’s Sweet Bites. They have all the makings of a great go-to place for many of us; whether we’re working or trying to escape our parental responsibilities for a period of time, or somewhere in between.