Regional Dining Guide

Local Dough: Cooking Up Something Special in Rockton

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The air at this new local bakery is filled with the scents of delicious baked goods and other treats to tempt the palate. Meet the inventive couple behind this attraction, and what’s ahead.

On any given day, about 10 types of freshly-baked, large muffins are available, including blueberry, raspberry white chocolate, orange/cranberry and chocolate chip. Some varieties are vegan and others are topped with streusel crumbles or drizzled with frosting.

On any given day, about 10 types of freshly-baked, large muffins are available, including blueberry, raspberry white chocolate, orange/cranberry and chocolate chip. Some varieties are vegan and others are topped with streusel crumbles or drizzled with frosting.

Jeremy and Jules Cook, owners of Local Dough, 202 W. Main St. in Rockton, are living up to their last name, by cooking up all sorts of ways to please the palate.

Fans of Local Dough have discovered its wide variety of fresh-baked goods, such as muffins, cookies, cakes, scones, cannolis and bars. There’s also a full menu of hot and cold coffee drinks, breakfast foods, smoothies, ice cream, and gift items – all in a comfortable, classic-but-contemporary setting with seating for about 75 people.

The color scheme is black and metallic gold and silver, with a decorative tin ceiling, nostalgic décor, and music made popular decades ago.

“We wanted to create something new and different and offer a service not provided anywhere else,” says Jules. “We wanted a place we would like to come to, a place where people can meet for a cup of coffee or breakfast, or grab something on the run. We’re trying new things all the time.”

The air is filled with welcoming seasonal aromas of vanilla, pumpkin, cinnamon and other spices. On any given day, about 10 types of freshly-baked, large muffins are available, including blueberry, raspberry white chocolate, orange/cranberry, chocolate chip, lemon poppy seed, lemon blueberry, cherry almond, banana pecan, and carrot raisin. Some varieties are vegan. Some are topped with streusel crumbles or drizzled with frosting.

Seasonal items include pumpkin walnut muffins; pretzel sticks swirled in caramel and nuts, and bathed in chocolate; pumpkin bars, lemon bars and giant turtles. As the season progresses, soups and specialty sandwiches will likely be on the menu.

On Saturday and Sunday only, breakfast is served from 7 a.m.to 2 p.m. There’s traditional fare such as bacon and eggs, biscuits and gravy and pancakes. And there’s the not-so-traditional fare, such as Sweet Veggie, made with caramelized onions, grilled tomato, spinach, Granny Smith apples and Gouda cheese, served with potatoes. Breakfast nachos are made from pulled pork, bell peppers, onion, fried egg, sour cream, house-made chips and salsa. There’s even a breakfast salad. Other items include a pulled pork burrito, vegetarian burrito, salami scramble, stuffed French toast, gluten-free pancakes, and homemade granola.

People can keep pace with the evolution of Local Dough by logging into its Facebook page, which features photos of all their creations, which are all available for special order and catering. The business space can also be rented for private parties, receptions, and showers.

“We have hundreds of pictures of our foods and baked items on our Facebook page,” says Jules. “People can look through the pictures and get ideas for what they want. We can make all of those things, but we don’t make them every day. We’ll always do special orders.”

Local Dough boasts 5,000 followers through social media and it recently set up an Instagram account and live streaming.

The couple recently put up cabinets to showcase a collection of about 400 cameras, mostly from the early 1900s. Jeremy has enjoyed photography since high school. He attended the Art Institute of Chicago before moving to Los Angeles, where he built sets for movie and television productions.

While in California, he met Jules. They both bake and develop recipes, but she credits him with being more creative and artistic. She’s better at managing and keeping the business operating. Many of Jeremy’s paintings are displayed in Local Dough. He describes his unique style as “grid-based,” featuring repetition of patterns, color, and layers.

The couple moved here from California to be closer to Jeremy’s family in Machesney Park. Two years ago, they bought the Rockton building that once housed a pizza parlor, enlarged the space by 1,500 square feet and made other changes to meet their needs.

“When we first opened, we didn’t know what to expect, but we trusted that, in time, we would figure things out. The biggest surprise was the need to adapt to the seasonal changes. In Los Angeles, the weather is the same all the time, so we hadn’t experienced how the elements can affect business,” she says.

Local Dough hours for fall and winter are from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Breakfast and lunch are served only on Saturday and Sunday. Local Dough is closed on Monday and Tuesday.

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