For nearly 25 years, Bittersweet Pastry Shop has set the standard for fine pastry in Chicago with specialty desserts and custom cakes for every occasion. Founded by 2015 James Beard Outstanding Baker Award nominee Judy Contino, Bittersweet also offers European style pastries and breads, as well as breakfast and lunch in a bright, busy café.
In 2015 Contino passed day-to-day operations on to new managing partners Mindy Gohr and Esther Griego. Chef Gohr has been at Bittersweet for over a decade and she and Griego are continuing Bittersweet’s tradition of beauty and excellence with support from Contino who remains a partner and and guiding influence on the shop.
Located just west of Belmont CTA stop in the Lakeview neighborhood, Bittersweet’s café features a rotating menu of housemade quiches, soups, salads, and sandwiches alongside houseblend coffee, specialty teas and signature drinks, including a decadent hot chocolate, spiced ciders and other seasonal delights.
Bittersweet’s display case is stocked with an assortment of signature desserts, including staples such as its vanilla bean sour cream cheesecake, flourless chocolate mousse cake, apple bistro tart and baked brown butter custard tarts. There also are a variety of brownies, biscotti, French macarons and hand-designed cookies in addition to scones, muffins, croissants and breakfast breads baked fresh each morning that customers can eat in or take to go.
The shop is best known for being one of Chicago’s leading wedding and celebration cake bakeries. Bittersweet offers a personalized wedding cake consultation process for couples to help them create a custom cake or choose a unique selection of pastries for a sweet table.
Bittersweet also partners with an exclusive list of restaurants for wholesale desserts. Chef Gohr works directly with each restaurant to develop a customized pastry program to complement their menus.