I roll my eyes when people say “It’s baking season” because every season is baking season, if you like baked goods. Whether you have a sweet tooth or prefer savory bites, I give you my list of the best Chicago bakeries that will make you drool, regardless of whether it is
a holiday or not. All of these tasty locations are accessible via mass transit, so follow me to get your fix!
Blue Line – Chicago Bakeries
This charming Wicker Park bakery makes lovely cakes that are works of art but they also have wonderful pastries and coffee. Grab the lone table up front in the bakery or head next door to take a load off and enjoy some peace and quiet while you watch the passersby stroll along bustling Division St. I really enjoy their quiches.
Take the Blue Line to the Division ‘L’ stop and walk 5 blocks west – 1736 W. Division St.
BANG BANG PIE & BISCUITS
As far as Chicago bakeries go, Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits in Logan Square is the cutest by far. Their outdoor “pie garden” is open in the warm months. Who wouldn’t be down with a pie garden? Only the most hateful, miserable people, I presume. Don’t be one of those people!
The talented folks at Bang Bang Pie are rotating pies on a seasonal basis. If the sweet stuff is not your jam, try the savory biscuit options, pot pies or granola. This is a teeny, tiny place, so be prepared to wait on the weekends.
Take the Blue Line to the California ‘L’ stop and walk 6 blocks south – 2051 N. California Ave.
SPINNING J BAKERY & SODA FOUNTAIN
This Humboldt Park newcomer is a breath of fresh air to Chicago bakeries but it is also a throwback to old-time soda fountain joints. I love it! They offer home made sodas with ice cream floats, in addition to their menu of cakes, pies and sandwiches. This place makes me nostalgic for my days as a soda jerk at my local Carvel store in Rockaway Beach, N.Y.
Take the #52 Kedzie bus to Augusta Blvd. (Connect at the California ‘L’ stop) – 1000 N. California Ave.
You should be this awesome when you reach 112 years old! Scafuri Bakery has been serving amazing treats in Chicago’s Little Italy neighborhood, since 1904 and they are still going strong. When you open the door to this storied bakery, the smell of butter and other delights hits you in the face. They have all of the traditional Italian pastries, cookies and cannolis (filled to order) and more.
Scafuri offers great sandwiches and daily toasts, as well as terrific coffee. There are some tables and comfy seats, so stay awhile, enjoy the treats and feel your eyeballs explode with wonder.
Take the Blue Line to the Racine ‘L’ stop and walk a few blocks south. – 1337 W. Taylor St.
Brown Line – Chicago Bakeries
This German bakery in the Lakeview neighborhood has been making Chicago residents drool since the 1920s. They have received numerous accolades over the years and their stollen has a stellar reputation.
I ordered a birthday cake for my Dad here a few years ago and it was sensational! The prices are great, too.
Take the Brown Line to the Paulina ‘L’ stop and walk 1 block south – 3329 N. Lincoln Ave.
Are you a Francophile? La Fournette in Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood is a lovely little spot where you can order some French baked goods to-go or relax over a fabulous bowl of French onion soup and sandwiches.
Take the Brown Line to the Sedgwick ‘L’ stop and walk east to Wells St. – 1547 N. Wells
This is a fabulous bakery and millhouse in the Lincoln Square neighborhood. Everything here is made from scratch and it all rocks, especially the oatmeal which is a a “must-do.” Don’t forget to add some house made jam!
Baker Miller even offers baking classes for those of you who are in a more tactile frame of mind. Check them out!
Take the Brown Line to the Western ‘L’ stop and walk 1 block south. – 4610 N. Western Avenue
Orange Line – Chicago Bakeries
It is no wonder why renowned chef, Rick Bayless, and others continue to sing the praises of this Pilsen bakery. The dulce de leche cakes are the things to have at Kristoffer’s Bakery. The traditional flavor is awesome but try the kahlua, coconut, caramel and vanilla flavors as well.
Kristoffer’s also has great chocoflan and breakfast options such as chilaquiles.
Take the Orange Line to the Halsted ‘L’ stop and connect for the #8 Halsted bus (or just walk 6 1/2 blocks north) – 1733 S. Halsted
PLEASANT HOUSE PUB
Pleasant House Pub set up shop in the former Nightwood space in Pilsen. They enjoyed a stellar reputation in their former, nearby Bridgeport location but they have spread their wings to this larger pub in the full British tradition. It’s all about the dreamy pot pies (steak and ale, mushroom and kale, chicken Balti) but the pastries, breads, salads and sides are wonderful, too.
The owners of Pleasant House are milling their own grains and putting a ton of love into their baked goods. They have a farm so the veggies used in their pies and salads are very fresh.
The space at Pleasant House really does replicate those all-day, lazy and inviting pubs in the U.K. Start out with coffee and pastry and wind your way through lunch and cocktail hour 😉
Take the Orange Line to the Halsted ‘L’ stop and walk 3 blocks north. The #8 Halsted bus stops here, too. – 2119 S. Halsted
Red Line – Chicago Bakeries
I absolutely love when a business gives back to the community where they are located. First Slice in Andersonville is all about giving back to those who are struggling with hunger and there is no better time to be reminded of how important it is to take care of each other than the holiday season.
In addition, to their socially conscious agenda, the staff at First Slice is baking up some drool-worthy treats in the form of pie, cake, quiche, cookies and more. This is definitely my new “happy place.”
I really loved the French Silk Pie and the balsamic, raspberry pear pie. The lemon-poppy seed biscotti was surprisingly moist.
Take the Red Line to the Berwyn ‘L’ stop and walk west to Ashland Ave.- 5357 N. Ashland Ave.
BAKER & NOSH
This Uptown bakery is teaching baking classes, as well as feeding us wonderful, sweet and savory options. They have a full coffee bar which is impressive and rare for an operating bakery.
FUN FACT: The space is set inside a 90-year old hotel and it has great natural light plus French doors that open out onto a garden patio.
Take the Red Line to the Wilson ‘L’ stop and walk 3 blocks west – 1303 W. Wilson
Cupcakes made a crazy comeback in the last few years. What gives? Are we all just feeling nostalgic for our childhood birthday parties? I was never a huge fan of cupcakes but I can certainly appreciate those that are well-executed. Molly’s Cupcakes has won some well-deserved praise and I agree that their cupcakes are moist and yummy.
Head to Lincoln Park and check them out. I recommend this malted marble cupcake with vanilla and chocolate marble cake, filled with malted milk pudding, chocolate swirl buttercream and crusted malt candy.
Molly’s is such a cute little spot to get out of the cold for a bit. They even have swings at the counter. Talk about acting like a little kid while eating your cupcakes 🙂 !
Take the Red Line to the Fullerton ‘L’ stop (Brown and Purple Lines, too) and walk a few blocks east and north to Clark St. – 2536 N. Clark St.
Do you like a bit of swank with your cupcakes? More is located in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood and it is set up like a swanky, little boutique for tiny cakes. You know what they say, “More is more!”
Take the Red Line to the Chicago ‘L’ stop and walk 3 blocks north – 1 E. Delaware
HENDRICKX BELGIAN BREAD CRAFTER
When you are shopping along or near Chicago’s Magnificent Mile on Michigan Avenue and you are about to faint from low blood sugar or a maxed out credit card, you need to head to Hendrickx Belgian Bread Crafter. Blink and you will most likely miss it because it is set back a bit on a stretch of Walton St. across from Bloomingdale’s.
This is the only Belgian bakery in Chicago and you do not want to miss the incredible chocolate croissants and more. Trust me!
Take the Red Line to either the Chicago ‘L’ stop (walk north to Walton) or the Clark/Division ‘L’ stop and walk a few blocks south. – 100 E. Walton.
MIDDLE EAST BAKERY & GROCERY
This place is perfect for buying falafel sandwiches, hand pies, soups and a myriad of intoxicating, colorful spices. Recently, they added an eat-in cafe. Hooray!
Take the Red Line to the Berwyn ‘L’ stop and walk west. – 1512 W. Foster Ave.
Well, I hope this post has you good and hungry. Now, wipe the drool off your lips and hop the rails to these sensational Chicago bakeries.
In keeping with the spirit of Feeding Off The Rails, I encourage you to leave your car at home and take the CTA trains and buses to these sensational Chicago bakeries. Save on gas. Avoid traffic, road rage and parking. Reduce pollution. Don’t drink and drive!