Nothing beats the smell of freshly baked bread or cookies, which is why Chicago’s abundance of bakeries is definitely a good thing. Across the city, a wide variety of bakeries have set up shop to provide visitors with both sweet and savory fare that appeases any appetite. Add to that Midwestern hospitality, and customers will feel like they’re taking a seat at their grandmother’s kitchen table for a truly delicious homemade treat. From colorful macarons and build-your-own cupcakes to savory tartines and pizzas, these five bakeries offer some of Chicago’s finest baked goods. To find them, all you have to do is simply sniff them out.
Just like its name implies, Sweet Mandy B’s sells all things sweet. Everything from s’mores to frosted cupcakes to whoopie pies make this bakery the answer to satisfying a serious sweet tooth. What is now today’s bake shop started in a home kitchen, so it is decorated as such with old-fashioned décor that gives a sense of home. The store is so family oriented, in fact, that it offers weekly classes for young bakers to test their skills.
What started as a stand at Chicago’s Green City Market has turned into Floriole bakery. Its menu combines sweet and savory baked goods in a way that keeps customers coming back for any meal of the day. For breakfast, a pumpkin sticky bun or coffee cake are delicious sweet options, while a spinach and cheddar quiche adds a savory twist. For lunch, customers can try the grilled cheese, which includes three cheeses, or the tartine of the day, made with onion jam, blue cheese, pears and herbs on sourdough toast. On Fridays, the bakery’s pizza nights make the perfect end to a tiring work week. Plus, eco-savvy foodies will be happy to know that the bakery uses mostly locally sourced, sustainable ingredients as well as organic flour and sugar.
Ever since 1922, Dinkel’s continues to satisfy customers with its wide variety of baked goods, ranging from cookies to breakfast foods to pretzels. Joseph Dinkel, who emigrated from Bavaria, Germany, started the bakery and that German heritage still remains strong in the food prepared today. The bakery’s latest creation, the Burglaur, is its own take on a breakfast sandwich made using focaccia-like dough topped with a variety of ingredients that create a delicious sandwich bun. Of course, the bakery’s signature Wurzelbrot bread and custom-designed cookies still remain local favorites as well.
Located in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood, Alliance Bakery specializes in European pastries and desserts and, in true European form, features a full espresso bar. The bakery’s colorful macarons — featuring flavors such as rose, Mexican chocolate and lemon poppy — the display of fruit tarts that look just as vibrant. The bakery is known for its cakes, available for any occasion and come in 2D and 3D options. The pirate ship cake, shaped exactly like it sounds, adds a sweet decoration for a themed birthday party.
Molly’s Cupcakes is named after the bakery owner’s third-grade teacher who baked cupcakes whenever one of her students had a birthday. As such, the cupcakes are made to replicate the same sweet taste that Miss Molly created using her own special recipe. The bakery even offers build-your-own cupcakes with a variety of cake, frosting and center-filling flavors. For instance, a customer can order a banana cupcake with cream cheese frosting and a peanut butter Nutella filling. The store also has a sprinkle station for customers to decorate their own cupcakes with a colorful finishing touch. In honor of Miss Molly and the children she taught, the bakery donates a portion of its proceeds to local schools.