It’s easy to forget you’re in a rural part of Southern Illinois when you pull up to Covered in Chocolate Bistro and Catering in Breese.
An industrial light display greets you at the door and you’ll notice a cozy set of yellow velvet chairs in the window where you can picture yourself having coffee and cake with friends.
Inside, a chalkboard menu is the back drop for bakery cases that look more like jewelery cases filled with glittery baked goods. (Although, the bakery’s most popular item, New Jersey-style cheesecake, is not baked.)
Cupcakes, donuts, pies and cakes sparkle as the sun fills up the room.
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Owner Jamie Kohrmann recently opened the chic bakery at 541 N. 3rd St. She and her sister, Hollie Sensel, operated out of Carlyle before the business moved to Breese. Sensel does all of the specialty cakes and decorating while Kohrmann runs daily operations at the bistro.
Kohrmann renovated the space with help from her husband, Kurt. The couple rolled up their sleeves to transform the old storefront into a modern space for lunch, community gatherings, business meetings and bridal and baby showers.
In just a few weeks, it’s become a go-to destination for lunch and dessert.
“We’re always striving to be different from everybody else,” Kohrmann said during a recent lunch rush at the bistro. “That’s why when you come to our bakery you’re not going to find the usual turnover or cream puff. You’re going to find more gourmet and trendy desserts.”
Almost everything is covered in chocolate, including bacon. Kohrmann said the bistro is always trying something new, which is why they will offer chocolate-covered raspberries for Valentine’s Day.
“It really all began with chocolate-covered strawberries,” Kohrmann said.
The shop makes chocolate-covered strawberries year round, but on Valentine’s Day they expect to sell anywhere between 8,000 and 9,000 this year.
Kohrmann’s treats are in popular demand around Breese where she also caters to a lunch crowd. On a recent Wednesday afternoon, the shop was filled with customers ordering soup and sandwiches from the bistro.
Operating a food truck could be the next step for the company, but Kohrmann said she wants to settle into Breese before doing that. An outdoor space for a small community gathering is coming soon.
Want to go? The bistro is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. The bake shop is closed Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.