Located right across the street from Alma Mater on the University of Illinois Quad, Cocomero has been a steady presence of Campustown for a long time. Initially offering mostly self-serve frozen yogurt, they now serve tea, coffee, warm treats, and more.
Thanks to their two floors, groups won’t have issues finding a spot here.
Window seats offer a great view of Alma Mater and the northwest corner of the Quad. If you want to eat outside, though, you’ll need to take a bit of a walk, as Cocomero does not have seating outside their building. Thanks to the helpful staff, I ordered a variety of hot and cold treats.
To begin, I had a red bean goldfish ($3.95). Served warm and made in Cocomero, the outer edge of the fish was crispy with crystallized sugar adding to the experience. The earthy red bean filling was mildly sweet and had a few chunks of red bean that added another texture to the crispy edge and soft middle area of the dessert. Easily eaten on the go, I’d recommend a red bean goldfish (also available with cream cheese or Nutella filing) if you’re in a hurry or want something warm on a cool day.
I was surprised to find Cocomero makes Dalgona candy ($2.95), so I had to pick one up. A traditional Korean street snack back in the 1960s and 1970s, Dalgona candy saw a surge in popularity recently after featuring as a challenge in the Korean-produced Netflix show Squid Game. Made with just sugar and baking soda, this was a simple treat that tasted like a delicate, smoky toffee. Due to the candy’s brittleness, it’s long been a challenge to cleanly pop-out the interior shape without damaging it. Though I managed to break out the triangle, I failed (as expected) to get the heart out unscathed. Better luck next time for me!
If you’re more of a coffee person, Cocomero also offers a coffee drink with Dalgona crumbled onto the top of it. Whatever you prefer, this is a great treat if you have kids as breaking the shape out with the toothpick they give you makes for a fun challenge!
Looking to have some fruit, I also ordered a waffle with mango frozen yogurt and mango fruit pieces ($5.95 + $1 for fruit). Served warm, I loved the waffles with their crunchy sugar crystals and crispy edges. The added (at no cost) whipped cream and chocolate syrup were appreciated, too. While I enjoyed the taste of the mango frozen yogurt, the texture was a bit icier than I prefer my froyo, so I think I’ll have a dairy-based version next time like chocolate chip cookie dough.
To drink at home, I also ordered a coffee shake ($5.95). Nice and creamy thanks to the addition of vanilla frozen yogurt, I felt refreshed drinking this on a hot day. Non-dairy options are also available at Cocomero, so ask for a replacement if that’s what you need. I recommend whipped cream on top since it doesn’t come at an additional cost. While I’m not sure if all do, mine even came with a complementary Lindt chocolate caramel truffle!
Having visited Cocomero frequently while I attended the University of Illinois, I was pleased to find that the café had only grown and improved over the years. Originally styled with stark white walls and bright lights with plastic, cushion less chairs, Cocomero replaced most of the white with browns and the chairs with comfier options.
Including the expanded menu with Korean staples like Dalgona candy, Cocomero is better than it’s ever been. With the crowds thinned out over the summer months, plan a trip to campus now while you can!
709 S Wright St
noon to 9:30 p.m., daily