They may not get as much of the limelight as bars and restaurants, but bakeries are every bit as important to Chicago's eating ecosystem. So we're setting our sights on some of the city's sweet-makers. From a time-tested German bakery in Lakeview to a whimsical spot in Wicker Park, here are the best places to score baked goods in 20 Chicago neighborhoods.
Swedish BakeryAddress and Info
It's no surprise that Chicago's historically Scandinavian neighborhood would lay claim to -- you guessed it -- a historical Scandinavian bakery that's been satisfying sugar cravings since the late 1920s. The business has changed hands a couple time since then, but has upheld its commitment to all things sweet. Stop in for traditional braided cardamom coffee cake, toska tortes, and gourmet imports like lingonberry preserves and Swedish crisp bread.
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La Farine BakeryAddress and Info
After its start in Palatine and a three-year stint in Wicker Park, this popular bakery has settled into a spacious spot in Avondale. It's undoubtedly known for its award-winning breads made with natural starters, but a veritable French macaron rainbow, a selection of seasonal cakes, and plentiful breakfast pastries are just as irresistible, especially when paired with a cup of coffee or tea.
Lovely, TooAddress and Info
This northern expansion of West Town's Lovely: A Bake Shop proves to be even better than the original, thanks to its enormous kitchen and expanded cafe menu. Score everything from molasses-y chocolate ginger chews and perfectly toasted coconut macaroons to a selection of breakfast pastries and even a BLT with Sriracha mayo.
HewnAddress and Info
OK, so Evanston is technically a suburb, not a neighborhood within Chicago, but as both the city's closest Northern neighbor and the home of an artisanal bakery of Hewn's caliber, we're pretending it's a 'hood for the sake of this list. You'll be hard-pressed to find better hand-forged bread than the beautifully crusty loaves here, and pastries like monkey bread, muffins, and fruit-studded scones are delightful enough to turn just about anyone into a morning person.
Sprinkles CupcakesAddress and Info
Sure, Downtown shoppers and bachelorette parties flock to this local outpost of this cupcake chain like bees to honey, and while the cutesy branding and gimmicky cupcake ATM likely have something to do with that, we have to admit, the cupcakes are worth the hype.
Pan Hellenic Pastry ShopAddress and Info
A sticky-sweet piece of baklava is the obvious choice at this Greek-leaning destination, and it certainly doesn't disappoint, but it's hardly the only thing the sweets shop does well; don't miss the chocolate-y karioka and "Louie's cookies," which are specialty walnut meringue cookie sandwiches with a fudge center.
Delightful PastriesAddress and Info
Unlike most Chicago-area bakeries, which only bring out the pączki once a year, this European shop offers the traditional Polish pastry year-round for your enjoyment. The treats come in flavors like plum jelly and custard-filled, and share the stage with everything from apricot kolaczki to blueberry turnovers. Even if you're not in the Jefferson Park area, you can get your fix at the bakery's French Market location.
Dinkel's BakeryAddress and Info
From strudels and tarts to cookies and its famous stollen, this German bakery has had the answer to Chicago's collective baked-good needs for the better part of a century and is still going strong. If sweets aren't your thing, don't worry -- they have quiche and plenty of savory croissants, too.
Sweet Mandy B'sAddress and Info
Given that Sweet Mandy B's and Floriole are the charming bakeries sharing the same block and producing some of the best baked goods in the city -- let alone, their neighborhood -- we couldn't recognize one without the other. Washed in pastel hues and equipped with a pastry display bursting with colorful cookies and cupcakes, Sweet Mandy B's is a veritable sugar fiend's fairytale. Floriole plays it a bit more simple, with an airy space conducive to working while you munch on European pastries, like almond-y gateau Basque, pain au chocolat, and a variety of scones; don't forget to pick up a loaf of fresh-baked bread on your way out.
Scafuri BakeryAddress and Info
This time-tested, family-owned establishment has been around since 1904, and after just one bite of its cannoli, you'll understand why: It's that good. The assorted Italian cookies and sfogliatelle are equally to credit for its longevity.
Bang Bang Pie & BiscuitsAddress and Info
Get your pie fix and a piping dish of biscuits and gravy at this rustic eat-in bakery and cafe. The pies rotate daily, and are available for pre-order every day of the week.
Revival Cafe Bar & BakeryAddress and Info
Helmed by pastry great Mindy Segal (Mindy's Hot Chocolate), this cozy oasis within the buzzy Revival Food Hall, this part-cafe, part-bar offers all things caffeinated, boozy, and baked. Stop by the one-stop shop for brioche donuts and nitro draft lattes during the day, and stiff (and coffee-infused, if you wish) cocktails in the evening.
Goddess and the BakerAddress and Info
Sure, you can score a well-rounded meal here, but wouldn't you rather have a multi-course feast of rainbow layer cake, iced cut-out cookies, pecan sticky buns, and hulking rice crispy treats?
Hoosier Mama Pie CompanyAddress and Info
With locations in both Chicago and Evanston, this kitschy pie shop has earned a slice of both city and suburban pie markets with its rotating selection of fresh-baked pies. The sweet creations are available whole, by the slice, or in flights, and come in flavors like Hoosier sugar cream, pear-apple-cranberry with walnut crumble, and maple pecan.
La FournetteAddress and Info
Step inside this classic French bakery and you'll swear you've just been teleported to a quiet Parisian side-street; brioche, croissants, beignets, and baguettes abound.
Panaderia Nuevo LeonAddress and Info
While its neighborhood has seen its fair share of change and evolution in recent years, this Mexican bakery remains steadfast, just as it has for the past half-century. It specializes in traditional favorites, including pan dulce, churros, and flan, as well as savory tortillas made with jalapeño and chili guajillo.
Baker MillerAddress and Info
Whether you're lingering over a casual oatmeal breakfast or dropping by to pick up a bacon, egg, and brie sandwich on the go, there's no better place to kickstart your day in Ravenswood than here. All the baked goods are made with flour milled in-house.
Little Goat BakeryAddress and Info
This carbo-loaded attachment to Stephanie Izard's Little Goat Diner sells some seriously decadent goods, like "fat bread" (smoked duck fat, pickled mustard seed, and beer), crusty tortone made with garlic and mashed potatoes, onion rye bagels with kimchi cream cheese, and don't-knock-it-'til-you've-tried-it chocolate, peanut butter, and Cheez-It cake.
West Town Bakery & DinerAddress and Info
Artsy, graffiti-inspired walls and red, white, and blue booth-seating reflect this bakery/diner's playful array of offerings: Dark Matter coffee, booze aplenty, sustainability-driven baked goods, and gut-busting brunch eats like a duck confit Cubano, and malted chocolate and toffee pancakes.
Alliance BakeryAddress and Info
From whimsical custom cakes (Narwhal cake, anyone? How about a 3-D Ninja Turtle?) and fruit tarts to macarons and kouign amann, the creativity at this lauded sweets emporium knows no bounds. Be sure to pair your sugar high with a caffeine jolt, courtesy of the bakery's full espresso bar.
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1. Swedish Bakery5348 N Clark St, Chicago
2. La Farine Bakery & Cafe2909 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
3. Lovely Too: A Bake Shop1138 W Bryn Mawr Ave, Chicago
4. HEWN Artisan Bread810 Dempster St, Evanston
5. Sprinkles Cupcakes50 E Walton, Chicago
6. Pan Hellenic Pastry Shop322 S Halsted St, Chicago
7. Delightful Pastries5927 W Lawrence Ave, Chicago
8. Dinkel's Bakery3329 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago
9. Sweet Mandy B's1208 W Webster Ave, Chicago
10. Floriole Cafe & Bakery1220 W Webster, Chicago
11. Scafuri Bakery1337 W Taylor St, Chicago
12. Bang Bang Pie Shop2051 N California Ave, Chicago
13. Revival Café Bar & Bakery125 S Clark St, Chicago
14. Goddess & Baker Navy Pier600 E Grand Ave, Chicago
15. Hoosier Mama Pie Shop1618 1/2 W Chicago Ave, Chicago
16. La Fournette1547 N Wells St, Chicago
17. Panaderia Nuevo Leon1634 W 18th St, Chicago
18. Baker Miller4610 Western Ave, Chicago
19. Little Goat820 W Randolph St, Chicago
20. West Town Bakery & Diner1916 W Chicago Ave, Chicago
21. Alliance Bakery1736 W Division St, Chicago
Swedish Bakery is an Andersonville institution specializing in Scandinavian-style baked goods. With nearly a century of baking under its belt, the storefront produces pastries, petit fours, coffeecakes, cookies, wedding cakes, and more for the sweets seekers of Chicago. While they cover their ground in offering all things dessert, their Swedish specialty pastries -- including marzipan cakes, almond tarts, and Tosca tortes -- are the spirit behind the bakery.
Located in Avondale, La Farine Bakery & Café originally opened with the sole purpose of baking for wholesale only. Over a decade later, and in a new location, La Farine offers more than just bread -- though the loaves are worth the long lines they draw. Seven days a week, you can also indulge in Bridgeport coffee, “morning goods” like pastries and croissants, savory items like sandwiches and quiches, as well as their sizeable repertoire of macarons (in nearly 20 different flavors) and seasonal cakes.
At the intersection of Berwyn and Broadway is Edgewater’s iteration of Wicker Park’s Lovely Kitchen & Café, Lovely, Too. It’s an independent coffeehouse and bakeshop serving anything from coffee, chai, and espresso drinks to sandwiches, bagels, cupcakes, and cookies. The bakeshop offers a wide variety of coffee drinks, as well as a large selection of teas from Chicago’s beloved Rare Tea Cellar. Open weekdays at 7am and weekends at 9am, Lovely, Too is a solid bet for breakfast, lunch, or coffee on-the-go in Edgewater.
Appropriately named, Evanston's Hewn is bringing back widely forgotten break-making techniques -- kneading dough for 30 minutes, letting it ferment overnight, and then baking for a total 20 hours of fermentation every singe day, master bakers create the fresh bread that goes into every single one of their cheddar or pumpkin seeds baguettes, scone, croissant, and sandwich. The offering's a little different each day, but the online bread schedule should keep you in the loop.
Sprinkles ignited a cupcake mania when it opened its first Beverly Hills store in 2005. Since then, the bakery has expanded across the country -- with both brick-and-mortar outposts and cupcake ATMs -- and added ice cream and cookies along the way. Bullseye-dotted cupcakes remain the trademark, with flavors varying from mainstays like red velvet (available in gluten-free, sugar-free, and vegan varieties) and peanut butter chocolate to seasonal creations like olive oil and pumpkin.
There’s more to Greek pastry than baklava, and Pan Hellenic Pastry Shop on Halsted is spreading the word. It’s a decades-old mom and pop café in the heart of Greektown introducing Chicago diners to authentic Greek pastry and baked goods. They’ve got classic pastries and specialty items native to smaller, specific regions in Greece, cookies and biscuits, tortes and cakes, even a small selection of breads and savory items. Stop by for baklava and beyond, seven days a week.
The name pretty much says it all. This Jefferson Park dessert-stop can satisfy any sweet tooth with their donuts, cakes, cookies, brownies and more.
Dinkel's is serving up some insanely delicious baked goods, but be sure to hone in on their donuts and specialized cakes.
With delicious confections like cakes that come in flavors that range from Pumpkin to lemon to Snickerdoodle, Mandy B's is your one-stop-shop for sweets in Lincoln Park. Don't miss their stand-out cookie, The Ranger, that's crammed with coconut, oats, and chocolate chips.
Floriole Café & Bakery’s beginnings were confined to a 10-by-10 tent at Green City Market, where the menu was limited to pastry alone. Today, from its two-story Lincoln Park-based brick and mortar, Floriole continues to sell its French pastries, en masse, but with an expanded inventory. Now, you can enjoy your pastry with coffee, quiche, breads, sandwiches, salads, and more. The levain, canelé, and other French delicacies may rival those actually made in France -- the baker cut her teeth at San Francisco’s acclaimed Tartine Bakery, after all -- and the quiche is served in shells that are like golden-brown butter sculptures, and are not to be missed.
Scafuri is an Italian blessing -- their pastries and treats are that good.
Logan Square's Bang Bang Pie Shop is a reminder of a simpler time, when everyone's favorite neighbor Ethel would let her pies cool on the windowsill. The pies at this bright and buzzy corner bake shop are handmade daily using the freshest seasonal ingredients, and their comforting scent alone will have you floating through the entrance. There are classics like key lime and apple, plus unique recipes like butterscotch meringue and maple bourbon pecan. You won't want to miss the small-batch sour cream biscuits either, which are served with ginger-sage sausage, gravy, a poached egg, and a side of seasonal jam.
Revival Café Bar & Bakery is a full service coffee bar and all day café, with bakery offerings, savory options, craft coffee, and cocktails -- craft coffee cocktails included. It’s located within the Revival Food Hall in the Loop, and is the place that will sate your every craving, morning, noon, and night. The bar program is run by the man behind renowned cocktail bars like The Aviary and Celeste, and the savory and pastry (and of course, hot chocolate) menu is driven by James Beard Award Pastry Chef Mindy Segal of Mindy’s HotChocolate, there’s nothing Revival Café can’t do.
This all-day cafe and bakery on Navy Pier offers up freshly-brewed coffee, made-to-order sandwiches and salads, and creamy gelato from Zarlengo. Then of course, there are the baked goods: cut-out sugar cookies, hefty scones, and glazed breakfast buns are just some of Goddess & Baker's specialities. The counter-serve spot has a few seats available, and it's a great spot for a coffee rendez-vous.
The simple value of Hoosier Mama cannot be understated. They serve up scratch-made pies (available whole, by the slice, and in flights) in styles like classic apple, banana cream, peanut butter, and maple pecan. The space is open and sunny, and, in addition to the sweets, breakfast, lunch and dinner are served, with salads, sandwiches and savory pie options available in the later hours.
This wondrous bakery offers a wide selection of authentic breads and pastries from Alsace (that's in France, FYI), including treats such as kouglof, an open-faced tarte flambee broiled with bacon, beer breads, beignets, and macarons. Wash it all down with some Intelligentsia coffee. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Grab a tray and some tongs and go nuts at Pilsen’s Panaderia Nuevo Leon, where the pastry is plentiful and authentic Mexican fare is king. The traditional Mexican-style bakery is self-serve, so you can load up on pan dulce, conchas, cupcakes, churros, and flan. They also offer savory options, like empanadas, pan de queso, and flour tortillas -- as well as tortillas made with chiles, spinach, nopales, and black beans. Monday through Saturday from 6am to 8pm, the pastry case at Panaderia Nuevo Leon is yours to peruse and to plate your preference.
The owners of Bang Bang Pie Shop are behind this grain-centric sweet and savory bake shop in Lincoln Square where all the items from breakfast to lunch -- and the flour itself -- are made in-house. Of Baker Miller's breakfast options, the milky bowl of oatmeal topped with seasonal jam, cultured cream, and toasted pecans is a standout, as is the heirloom blue corn grits with sausage. There are a few sandwiches available on the lunch menu, like a BLT with feta and tomato jam, which are served with a slice of pie or side salad. That's a no-brainer.
Right across the street from its upscale sister Girl & The Goat, Stephanie Izard's Little Goat is an all-day upscale diner that serves insanely creative takes on classic American comfort food. Split between a sit-down restaurant and a bakery, Little Goat is the place to go for over-the-top breakfast (breakfast spaghetti, banana peanut butter waffles), exceptional burgers (you can choose between a beef, goat, and veggie patty), and crazy desserts (smoked pork & toffee crunch milkshakes, Cheez-It sundaes). If you can't sit and stay -- or handle the long weekend waits -- then hit the "Grab and Goat" take-away area.
With its graffiti walls and funky atmosphere, this joint features all-week booze, and menu items from carrot cake waffles drizzled with cream cheese icing and pineapple-caramel sauce, to grass-fed steak benedict with crispy onions and enough Cabernet hollandaise to have you needing a cab to get home.