Having doled out dough at such sweet spots as Tru, Artopolis Bakery and the all-mighty Mandy B's, Gina Sedivy has earned the right to a black belt in frosting cakes. Or at least to her own dessert cafe, which she opened summer of 2005. Gina's storefront space on Southport feels more like an upscale city-dweller's pad than, say, the inside of a giant cupcake (no offense, cheery-bright Mandy). Deep red covers the walls and paintings of urban scenery spruce them up. High, tin ceilings cap the space and exposed brick walls lend a bit of rustic flair.
In back, an open kitchen subjects visitors to the sounds of mixing bowls taking pretty severe beatings. All in all, the impression is one of serious baking and the sugary goods displayed at the counter prove it. Ornate cakes showcase gobs of frosting and pretty designs: Think dark, so rich-looking-it-makes-your-eyes-fat frosting, dotted with bright yellow flowers. Or picture a multi-layered cake festooned with edible autumn leaves. For down-'em-in-one sitting goods, expect flower-frosted cupcakes, caramel brownies and iced molasses cookies. A menu of coffee drinks features baked good companions like lattes and cappuccinos, but the plain old COD will have you jittery in no time.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Jennifer Berg