Yannis Janssens / Lee & Marie’s Cakery Company

This Valentine’s Day, trade in the box of chocolates for chocolate paint. Pastry chef Yannis Janssens at Lee & Marie’s Cakery Company highly recommends it with strawberries.

Named for owner Andy Travaglia’s daughter’s grandmothers, Lee & Marie’s Cakery is a bakery-café hybrid that’s serving up a sweeter side in South Beach. Chat Chow TV shared an éclair with chef Janssens and talked sugar and spice, and everything nice.

“Lee & Marie, both of them were famous for baking, of course,” explains Janssens. “Lee is famous for cheesecake and Marie is famous for the German chocolate cake. We still sell those. They’re actually our top-seller cakes. You can buy the whole cake or you can buy by the slice.”

Pair your pastry (try the Heath-Bar fudge éclair) with Panther Coffee served in antique cups and saucers, a nod to the quaint shop’s comfy-chic charm. While Lee & Marie’s main masterpiece is the sweet, they offer a savory menu as well.

“We do have lunch and a breakfast menu,” Janssens admits. “It’s not super large, it’s whatever’s available at the farm. These are the ingredients that we use and then we make salad, sandwiches with [them] and in the mornings we make croissants with [them] and croissant sandwiches.”

If you’re feeling guilty about the caloric intake, know that your purchase is going towards a good cause. Lee & Marie’s actively supports those affected by autism by employing and providing housing for autistic adults.
Check out the video above to see why Janssens’ Belgian roots make for one extra-decadent cupcake, why pop-cones are heavenly, and what other Valentine’s Day gifts are available.