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kitchen/cooking supply stores?

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bettyboper Feb 28, 2004 04:27 PM

recently new to the area and am wondering where the cool kitchen/cooking stores are? i am so bored with WS and Chef's Choice in the malls! where do you all go to find kitchen items, accessories, pots, pans, and all that in the city and burbs? Are there any good professional stores open to non (but dreaming) professionals? also interested in food related art for the kitchen.thanks all!

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    Steve Z RE: bettyboper Feb 28, 2004 05:32 PM

    If you drive into the West Loop, on Madison starting in about the 1000 W. block you will run into many restaurant supply stores (as well as the oft discussed Jerry's) over the next few blocks. These are not mall type shops, they are professional restaurant supply stores where you can get anything you can imagine when it comes to cooking...usually in industrial strength. There are at least 7 - 10 of these places located over a 4 block stretch between Morgan and a little past Racine.

    While you are in the neighborhood, you may also want to stop at the Calphalon Culinary School on the corner of Washington and Morgan to check out their showroom (and a schecule of their classes), although they don't normally sell anything there. It's really just a showroom except for once or twice a year when they have their showroom sale when the line changes to new models. Happy hunting.

    There is also Edward Don and Company on Elston between Fullerton and Diversey, but the West Loop has many more places to choose from.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Steve Z
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      MJNv RE: Steve Z Feb 29, 2004 11:02 AM

      Northwestern Cutlery at about 800 W. Lake is near the places Steve is talking about. Very cool if you are looking for knives or sharpening services.

      1. re: MJNv
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        N Tocus RE: MJNv Feb 29, 2004 08:32 PM

        I want to put in a special good word for the Edward Don Outlet as it's the kind of place that you never know what you'll find in their clearance area so you should stop in whenever you're nearby. My best buy ever there was a box of 500 microwaveable 12 oz freezer containers for $4---I have been using them to freeze leftovers in for the past ten years.

        1. re: N Tocus
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          Querencia RE: N Tocus Apr 24, 2012 06:02 PM

          Update: The Edward Don Outlet on Elston closed about four years ago. I see their trucks around so the Don company must still be in business. If anyone knows of an outlet etc please post information.

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      LAZ RE: bettyboper Feb 29, 2004 04:30 AM

      Here are a couple that I like:

      The Chopping Block
      773/472-6700
      1324 W. Webster St.
      4747 N. Lincoln Ave.
      www.thechoppingblock.net

      Edward Don Outlet Store
      773/489-7739
      2525 N. Elston Ave., Chicago

      A surprisingly good place for high-quality cookware at cheap prices is Marshall's (several around the city and suburbs). You can't rely on them to have specific things, but it's worth checking out what they have.

      LAZ

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        Greg in Streeterville RE: bettyboper Feb 29, 2004 11:02 AM

        One kitchen supply store not to be missed is Northwestern Cutlery at 810 W. Lake, downtown. Their website is www.futurechef.com but much of their stuff isn't on the website.

        Cutlery is only a small part of what they sell, although most of Chicago's chefs buy knives there. They carry dozens of brands, their prices can't be beat, and they have more stuff in stock, usually, than the yuppie places in the malls.

        The store is old, lighting is poor, the parking lot just west of the store is gravel, and they're not open at night or on Sundays, but it's a store not to be missed.

        You really need to stop in there to appreciate what they have. They don't discount All-Clad very much, which might mislead some people, but on the other hand, they have a huge selection of whisks, poultry shears, chef's knives, mandolines, specialty items, and so on. Well worth a visit.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Greg in Streeterville
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          mike RE: Greg in Streeterville Feb 29, 2004 02:44 PM

          I'll second that. The $30 I spent at Northwest for the Dexter Chinese Cleaver was probably the best thirty bucks I've spent for my kitchen.

          1. re: mike
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            Greg in Streeterville RE: mike Feb 29, 2004 04:10 PM

            It's a great store. I paid about $20 for a chinois recently that's just as good as the strainers at Sur La Table or Williams-Sonoma, selling for much more.

            About 10 years ago I bought a Wusthof Grand Prix 8 inch chef's knife from Northwestern. Retail was $80 then, and I think Northwestern charged $48. Recently, I bought a new 10 inch Forschner chef's knife with a composition (plastic) handle, and I think I paid $15 or $20. It's not as heavy as the Wusthof, but it's longer, and it's terrific. The salesman wanted me to buy a Dexter-Russell, which is even cheaper, but I loved the design of the Forschner.

            The guys running the operation shouldn't call their store Northwestern Cutlery because a lot of people think they sell only knives.

            It's a great place for gifts, mandolines, pepper mills, whisks, specialty items. They even have a selection of imported foods, not a lot, but they sell balsamic vinegars and Italian tuna packed in olive oil.

            It'll be a shame when their store is knocked down for townhouses or a high-rise.

            Anyone going there should be sure to stop at Isaacson & Stein, a block north, at Fulton and Halsted. They're fishmongers with a huge selection of seafood both fresh and frozen, and it's an amazing place just to see.

            1. re: Greg in Streeterville
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              Ed Fisher RE: Greg in Streeterville Feb 29, 2004 04:23 PM

              Going off on a slight tangent - for the price, dexter russell knives are pretty decent. Sure they're stamped, and they don't have a great feel, but the blades are pretty decent.

              For high end, I prefer Wusthof (and have a few), for low end I prefer Forschner/Victorinox.

              I love northwestern cutlery, and have bought a number of knives from them, although none of my wusthof, nor my kyocera ceramic.

              It's just a fun place to cruise around, and you see a lot of people from loop restaurants opening accounts for their staff.

              -Ed

              1. re: Ed Fisher
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                cappy RE: Ed Fisher Feb 29, 2004 04:35 PM

                You should not fail to mention that Northwestern Cutlery is one of the best places to take your knives to be sharpened, as do some the the best restaurants and butcher houses in the area. It is wonderful to watch the older gentleman (owner?) sharpen the knives on a large grinding wheel. That is a craft (like butchering) that is slowly fading away.

                1. re: cappy
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                  Omnivore RE: cappy Mar 1, 2004 10:53 AM

                  Edward Don is a major restaurant supplier with a retail store. Don't know how their prices compare though.
                  Edward Don and Co. Outlet Store
                  2525 N. Elston Ave.
                  Chicago, IL
                  773-489-7739

                  Link: http://www.don.com/

                2. re: Ed Fisher
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                  Evil Ronnie RE: Ed Fisher Mar 2, 2004 12:43 AM

                  Ed,

                  I have long been a fan of Dexter Russell knives. I have two twenty five year old carbon steel French knives, 8" and 12", both of which really hold an edge. FYI, their lower line of knives (plastic handles)
                  are stamped, but they make excellent full tang knives also. Take a look at their Conniseuer line next time you're in there.

                  Evil Ronnie

          2. k
            Katie RE: bettyboper Mar 1, 2004 08:40 AM

            If you're new to Chicago, you may want to pick up a copy of Pocius' book. She writes about a number of Chicago ethnic markets, sorted by cuisine, as well as cooking/restaurant supply stores. A good reference for Chicago eaters and home chefs.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Katie
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              Northsider RE: Katie Mar 2, 2004 12:02 AM

              It's weak on the North Side and north suburbs. Pocius lives in Oak Park and that geographical bias shows. It also seems like she didn't actually go to some of the places she writes about. Still, it's a good starting point.

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              Dougk RE: bettyboper Mar 2, 2004 03:49 PM

              A couple of years ago a friend of mine who's a chef took me to Lippert's, I believe in Chicago Heights (I know it's out that direction) tremendous selection, good prices, I'll see if I can come up with the address.

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                Chef Roger Greene RE: bettyboper Aug 26, 2004 11:56 AM

                Krasny's, across the street from Lathrop Homes on Clybourn(near the intersection of Clybourn/Diversey/Damen) is a good bet for bulk spices in restaurant-sized containers, utensils, and restaurant pots/pans and equipment. I've been buying from them for years, ever since I first went to chef school at the Cooking and Hospitality Institute way back in 1984. Also check out Royal Industries near the 600 block of N. Milwaukee Ave. where the old Como Inn used to be. They're good for pots/pans and hand tools, too.

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