Lonely Planet Writer

World's first marshmallow cafe opens in Chicago and people are queueing up outside

In a move that will delight dessert lovers, the world’s first marshmallow cafe has opened in Chicago and it promises to be even sweeter than you imagined.

The inside of the Marshmallow cafe
The new cafe is in Rogers Park. Image by Michelle Cox Photography

XO Marshmallow Cafe opened in Roger’s Park on 20 June and the owners were delighted to see a line outside the front door the first morning. Inside, visitors can relax in the pastel-coloured interior and try the type of flavours you never thought you’d find in a marshmallow; green tea, champagne, bourbon and some favourites like raspberry and Nutella.

It’s only been open a couple of days but already the cafe is proving a tourist draw. “We have been receiving messages, and seeing social media posts, about people wanting to schedule vacations to Chicago just to check out our cafe”, founders Kathryn Connor and Lindzi Shanks told Lonely Planet.

“People go on vacation to take a break from reality and make happy memories and creating those feelings was our goal when designing the interior. It is impossible to walk through our doors without smiling and feeling happy!”

S'mores are just one variation on offer in XO Marshmallow Cafe. Image by XO Marshmallow
S’mores are just one variation on offer in XO Marshmallow Cafe. Image by XO Marshmallow

XO Marshmallow is just over a year old and was started when the pair wanted to elevate their favourite gooey treat to a more gourmet dessert. After seeing some success locally, they turned to Kickstarter to expand their business. When that worked, they began getting requests to create a permanent base and turned to crowdfunding once more.

“Crowdfunding is always a gamble, especially when trying to fund something that isn’t national”, they said. “We were so grateful and appreciative for the support we received leading up the Kickstarter, and that praise fortunately translated into the campaign being funded. We never doubted we would make our goal but we had some scary moments!”

Anyone else hungry? Image by XO Marshmallow
Anyone else hungry? Image by XO Marshmallow

As well as gourmet marshmallows, the cafe will stock crispy treats, whoopie pies, s’mores and even toasted marshmallow lattes. And while Connor and Shanks promise this will be Chicago’s only marshmallow cafe, it may not be the world’s and they confirmed they would love to open in more locations in the future.