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Bleeding Heart Bakery Pulses Anew In Lakeview

By Melissa Wiley in Food on Jun 25, 2012 6:00PM

On its face, Bleeding Heart Bakery has little room for sentiment, its mawkish moniker notwithstanding. Its amiable servers, after all, boast black fingernails and nail-spiked jewelry. But this punk bakery’s new Lakeview digs are sweetness and light personified and the atmosphere as bright and airy as the whipped cloudy peaks on the lemon meringue pie. The cobwebs and scarlet-veined eyeballs are purely decorative.

A delectable confectionery carnival, this beloved bad-boy bakery has settled into its new North-side home with seeming serene domesticity. Yes, something of a kerfuffle has reportedly been simmering between Vinny and Michelle Garcia, the proprietors of this establishment, and their former partners, who own the West Town Bleeding Heart Bakery & CafĂ©, but on its own terms this space bleeds nothing but sanguine hospitality from its melodramatically lacerated heart. If this eatery could take to literature, we’d suspect Bleeding Heart of preferring Dickens and chamomile in a plush velvet armchair to Gide and gin on a cloudy seaboard, though always with sufficiently frenetic rhythms vibrating in the background. This is just a hunch, however, because no one under 30 keeps their place as tidy as this. And Bleeding Heart feels cozily middle aged, tending to its bed of geraniums on Saturday mornings, if cranking the Pixies from the back porch. A couple of sweater vests (with crocheted skull and crossbones on the pocket) in the hall closet wouldn’t surprise us in the least.

Every inch of the space enchants the eye with offbeat curios, from toy Dr. Who daleks to a flying pink dragon caught within a wire Victorian bird cage. Then there are the pastries themselves—many vegan friendly and all teeming with locally sourced ingredients—moist and inventive scones, whoopee pies, custom cakes, and everything that pleasantly elevates the blood sugar. It’s a heavy-metal rocker’s carbohydrate bender, as many Chicagoans have known for years. And if you live in the neighborhood but never got that tattoo you threatened your parents with in high school, this is your new corner bakery too. For one thing, it’s too pretty not to be. For another, it serves dainty viands the likes of scrumptious carrot tea cakes and, even better, brunch now on the weekends. Bleeding Heart’s latest homestead is adorable in the way that only a punk with a paunch who’s just weeded the garden can be.

Bleeding Heart Bakery is located at 1351 West Belmont Avenue.