Jilly’s cupcakes is becoming a very well known name in St. Louis and beyond. They reached the national stage due to the Food Network’s series “Cupcake Wars”, of which they are two time winner. They are also reaching greater and greater local visibility in St. Louis due to a deal with the Schnucks’ line of grocery stores.
And visibility is a very accurate word to choose. Their cupcakes are a little hard to miss, the largest size weighing in at over half a pound and usually featuring fantastical icing and toppings. Jill, the owner, and Jack, the VP of Business, started baking with the intent of making cupcakes that were huge, filled to the gills with something delicious, and outlandishly dressed up.
They also are always filled with something amazing, like rich chocolate ganache, honey lemon curd, or, in the case of their October monthly special, filled with M&Ms. The 24-Karat Carrot Cake, pictured above and possibly our favorite, is covered in gold leaf and filled with vanilla cream. We have read reviews of Jilly’s online and some people have stated they didn’t like the cupcakes, stating they were too sweet or in some cases that they were dry and not moist. We could see the “too sweet” complaint on some of the cupcakes, like the Missylicious for example, but every one we had were plenty moist and had plenty of flavor besides sweet.
But Jilly’s isn’t just a brand of cupcakes. They’ve decided to not rest on their Food Network won laurels and have begun to offer St. Louis more than just dessert. They now offer sandwiches, soups, salads, and some of the best ice-cream we’ve had in St. Louis.
They have regularly weekly fare for lunch in their cafe, their “Foodie-Fest” brunch buffet on Sunday, a monthly-or-so Thursday Night Supper Club, and now with their newly opened Ice Cream Bar which stays open into the evening.
We got a chance to try out some of their lunch specials and also dig into some of their incredible ice cream. They have a pretty extensive menu, so we couldn’t try it all, but we had was a lot more than we expected for a cupcake and ice cream joint.
We started off with some genuine comfort food, their French Onion Soup. It’s based off of the Famous Barr recipe from back in the day, which I actually had never tried or heard of before. It had a nice roasty flavor and the cheese was quite plentiful. It’s not the best french onion soup we’ve ever had by far, but we’d definitely order it again the next time we’re in.
Their Monte Cristo was the best one I’ve ever had, though I admit I’ve generally steered away from this sandwich in the past. The bread was sweet and tender, almost like a funnel-cake, and the meat was tender, juicy, and full of flavor. The raspberry dipping sauce went with it perfectly.
Christine really loved their Caesar Salad, with it’s creamy homemade garlic sauce, crispy croutons, and crunchy bits of fried cheese goodness. I’m generally not too fond of caeser salads, but I admit I really liked that garlic sauce dressing.
Another great lunch item was their Chicken Appollonia with it’s tender, flavorful pita bread and seriously tasty tzatziki sauce. The chicken and veggie filling was super delicious as well, and quite plentiful and covered with some really nice feta cheese. Really, this item is a chicken souvlaki, but whatever they call it I think it’s one of their better items on the menu.
With a name like the “OMG Veggie Sandwich”, we had to check out their signature non-meat sandwich. It’s massive and filled with tons of roasted vegetables and creamy goat cheese. It’s a monster of a sandwich, in both the sense of it’s size and it’s flavor. The veggies were perfectly cooked and packed some serious savory goodness, plus that peppercorn goat cheese and grilled focaccia bun really brought it all together… though we had a little trouble eating it as a sandwich. This really should be eaten with a knife and fork and those who attempt to eat it with just their hands better have plenty of napkins at the ready when it falls apart.
And of course how could we pay a visit and not try out their ice cream? We got the Bee Sting Sundae, which was an absolute treat to eat. The blueberry sauce on the top paired really well with their signature “Bee Sting” ice cream which has a pleasant flavor that falls somewhere between vanilla and lemon. We liked the Bee Sting flavor so much we picked up a pint to take home. Really, the ice-cream outshone everything else we had there, even their signature cupcakes.
All in all we had a great time! We truly were surprised by the quality of their non-cupcake fair, and once again we loved their ice cream which they have told us is completely homemade. The only things we were disappointed with were the potato chips, which weren’t terrible but didn’t add much to the meals, and that some of the cupcakes were a tad over-sweet, but the majority that we tried were pretty spot on in the balance between flavor and sweetness.
Obviously, Jilly’s is not fine-dining, but it is fun and the food makes for a great work lunch or a splendid evening treat. If you haven’t tried their lunch or ice cream we can highly recommend you give them a visit sometime soon.
- Pros: Incredible ice cream, fun and inventive cupcakes, great sandwiches.
- Cons: Some things too sweet. Potato chips were not that good.
- Charlie’s Favorites: Monte Cristo, Bee Sting Sundae, Chicken Appollonia
- Christine’s Favorites: Caeser Salad, Bee Sting Sundae, 24-Karat Carrot Cake
We really liked the colorful tables in the Ice Cream Bar and they told us they were done by a local furniture maker by the name of Mwanzi. Check out their site here: mwanzi.com