You’ve undoubtedly heard the claim that some dessert is the new cupcake. For awhile, said treat has been the doughnut. But in late May, a new sweet is poised to claim the designation, as Chicago welcomes its first marshmallow shop, XO Marshmallow (6975 N. Sheridan Rd., Rogers Park).
Co-owner Lindzi Shanks expects big things. “We consider ourselves the next Sprinkles Cupcakes, but in the world of marshmallows,” Shanks says of the year-old business she runs with Kathryn Connor.
XO was born when Shanks and Connor worked together at a pop-up shop for Connor’s clothing boutique, the Trendy Sparrow. Connor, who had started making marshmallows as gifts while in college, mentioned the hobby to Shanks. The two began experimenting with flavors and selling them as companions to the Trendy Sparrow’s coffee mugs.
The marshmallow biz took off, and soon the women were creating a roster of flavors including vanilla, lavender-honey, bourbon, coffee-Kahlúa, and salted caramel—and shipping them across the country. Currently, they’re also supplying 40 stores nationwide (including Boss Babe Pop-Up Shop at Block 37) with flavored fluffs.
“We never expected to open a café but we have grown so exponentially fast that we are at a point where we have to,” Shanks says. When she and Connor open their 700-square-foot café and espresso bar, they’ll offer boxed marshmallows for retail alongside a handful of new items such as hot cocoa mixes and fondue kits. Those looking to linger can grab a stool and a build-your-own s’more or whoopie pie; and anyone seeking a caffeine or sugar jolt should look no further than a latte topped with a freshly toasted ’mallow. “We’ll start with this smaller place, which will become our flagship store. Then [we’ll] really grow,” says Shanks.
Hope you’ve enjoyed your run.