Metro-East News

O’Fallon bakery goes vegan; construction at The Edge nears completion

Happy Bakery in O'Fallon offers variety of vegan sweets

The Happy Bakery offer vegan treats, including chocolate caramel turtle and pistachio raspberry cupcakes, oatmeal cream sandwiches and marshmallow pops.
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The Happy Bakery offer vegan treats, including chocolate caramel turtle and pistachio raspberry cupcakes, oatmeal cream sandwiches and marshmallow pops.

Children with food allergies don’t have to worry about what’s safe to eat at The Happy Bakery.

The O’Fallon bake shop doesn’t use animal products to make sweet treats — everything is vegan.

That means eggs, milk, cream cheese and honey don’t go into their desserts. But most people don’t know that, owner Charlie Cook said.

Requests for cakes and cookies continued to roll in after the shop converted in 2016.

The Happy Bakery now offers vegan grab-and-go treats at its new location at 106 W. 6th St. in O’Fallon.

Want to go? Here’s everything you need to know about the vegan bake shop.

From chocolate caramel turtle and pistachio raspberry cupcakes, to oatmeal cream sandwiches and marshmallow pops, the grab-and-go menu at the bake shop includes a variety of sweet treats.

Cook and her assistant, Kristen Taylor, take custom orders, too. Since 2011, the bakery has dreamed up specialty wedding cakes, birthday cakes and desserts for every occasion.

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An inside look at The Happy Bakery in O’Fallon. O'Fallon-Shiloh Illinois Chamber of Commerce

The shop offers vanilla, peanut butter and jelly and German chocolate creations, too.

Cook, an O’Fallon Township High School graduate, became a vegan in 2016 after years of baking with eggs and milk.

“Going vegan has not only been kinder to animals, but has greatly benefited our health, and that creates a much more eco-friendly footprint,” she said. “Once we were confronted with the horrible brutality of the animal agricultural industry, we decided it has no place in our life and our business.”

In addition to going vegan, the shop caters to a wide range of dietary needs, including peanut allergies.

Cook hopes the shop becomes a destination for families in the metro-east. Her shop now has outdoor seating and a party room customers can enjoy when she’s not hosting a private event.

The Happy Bakery is open from noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. It is closed Mondays. On Sundays and Tuesdays, it is open by appointment only. For more information, call 314-660-6091.

The Edge’s addition will likely open in January

Customers will have to wait a little longer for a 35,000-square-foot addition to be completed at The Edge in Belleville.

“If things go really, really well, we could potentially have the go-kart track open by Christmas,” said Keith Schell, who owns the entertainment complex with his wife, Mary Dahm-Schell. “More realistically, it will be January.”

Besides indoor electric go-karts, the addition will include bumper cars, virtual-reality experiences, a six-lane bowling alley, a banquet facility with party rooms and an adult-friendly arcade with a bar, dart boards, pinball machines and Golden Tee and Big Buck Hunter video games.

Originally, the Schells had hoped to complete the $3.6 million addition last summer. Then the target date got switched to September.

“It took months to get the steel in,” Keith said Tuesday. “The steel trade is really slow. But once we started building (three months ago), it went really fast.”

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Workers have enclosed the addition’s shell, which has a 35-foot-high ceiling. They have poured the concrete go-kart track and installed most drywall on the second floor, where the bowling alley, arcade and banquet facility will be located.

Still left to be done is a small amount of concrete work and installation of electricity, fire-safety features and lighting.

The Schells originally talked about building a “4-D theater,” but those plans were fine-tuned so that the addition would include three virtual-reality experiences. One will allow eight people at a time to go back to the dinosaur age and fly like pterodactyls over volcanoes and other land forms.

“It’s an open platform,” Keith said. “People put on virtual-reality glasses and buckle up in their seats, and the platform moves according to the ‘movie.’ It’s like a ride.”

The Edge started in 1998 with a 26,000-square-foot laser-tag center called Laser Rock on South Belt West.

Since that time, the Schells have completed nine renovations or additions, moving their D.S. Vespers restaurant from West Main to South Belt and building five theater screens, two video arcades and 12 party rooms, totaling 45,000 square feet. They had a miniature golf course at one time.

Besides indoor electric go-karts, The Edge's new expansion will include bumper cars, virtual-reality experiences, a six-lane bowling alley, a banquet facility with party rooms and an adult-friendly arcade with dart boards, pinball machines and Gol

“I don’t care what age you are, you can find something to do here,” Keith said.

When the 35,000-square-foot addition is completed, The Edge will total 80,000 square feet.

“It’s a real game-changer for us,” Keith said. “To have so many first-class attractions under one roof is rare in the country, let alone a small market like Belleville.”

Do you have a tip? Send me an email at canthony@bnd.com. Of course, I’m available to chat on Twitter @CaraRAnthony, and if you really want to go old school, call me on my landline at 618-239-2471.

BND writer Teri Maddox contributed to this report.

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