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Feb 11, 2008 04:09 PM

Local gems nearby N Clark St @ W Chicago Ave

Will be in town on the 700 block of North Clark St, and am looking for recommendations on local places to check out relatively near that intersection (~2 mile radius).

Have already got meals taken care of, so I am interested in places with quick bites, snacks, or non-meal sized specialties such as artisan bread makers, bakeries, pierogies, etc. Need places that are open for mid-day business to grab eats between meetings.

No hot dog/sausage or deep dish pizza recommendations please!

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  1. Head south 3 blocks on Clark and you will find the Rick Bayless restaurants - both are excellent - Frontera Grill is more cantina style casual only takes same day reservations - Tomplobampo is a more upscale but I have gone in wearing a nice pair of jeans - both are excellent upscale mexican cuisine -

    Frontera Grill
    445 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654

    1. > bakeries

      If you like pastries (rather than breads), Sarah's Pastries and Candies (their location on Oak Street) is about 1/4 mile north and a couple blocks east.

      A bit further (about a mile southeast) is Fox & Obel, a wonderful gourmet food store with anything you want, great breads and pastries (LOVE the cinnamon swirl rolls, great muffins), prepared foods (sandwiches, desserts, soups), all kinds of great stuff. They also have a cafe in the rear if you want to eat anything there. One of Chicago's treasures for foodies!

      4 Replies
      1. re: nsxtasy

        Glad you replied as I've read your bakery thoughts on these two posts as well: and

        So forgetting distance, are Swedish Bakery and Pasticceria Natalina the best bakeries in the city for pastries? What about for breads?

        I will definitely go to Fox & Obel, but how long would it take to get to SB & PN via metro from the 700 N. Clark St area? I am an avid bread & bakery seeking carboholic and it sounds like these two are too good to miss!

        1. re: justtryit

          I wouldn't say that Swedish Bakery or Pasticceria Natalina are the best, or are not the best. They are just different in style from other bakeries. Swedish Bakery does breads as well as pastries; Pasticceria Natalina does only pastries. Swedish Bakery is a fairly conventional bakery specializing in, well, Swedish-style breads and pastries. The breads include limpa and other Swedish specialties. Pastries include some things made with marzipan, including their marzariners and also they have a marzipan-covered rolled cake that uses both whipped cream and pastry cream (creme patissiere, custard). Pasticceria Natalina's style is also unique, with Sicilian specialties, and is just a totally different style. Compare them, say, to Fox & Obel, and they just do different things well. SB and PN are a block away from each other in Andersonville; from 700 N. Clark Street you can take the Red Line at Chicago and State and it will take you maybe 5-10 minutes to wait for the train and another 20-30 minute train ride to the Berwyn stop, then about a 10 minute walk west to Clark Street. If you don't want to walk as far (like if it's a very cold day) you can take the #22 Clark Street bus all the way up there, but it will take maybe 5-15 minutes longer because of all the stops along the way. You can find bus and train maps and info at If you're driving or taking a cab, and it's not commuting time, you can get there in about 20-25 minutes.

          If you're really looking for the best breads (as distinct from pastries), I think Fox & Obel does as good a job as any. They do a nice brioche bread, they do some really nice "country style" breads with a crunch to the crust, and the croissants are very nice too. Their pastries are more conventional, and include things like fruit tarts, cupcakes, a wicked bread pudding and an equally wicked chocolate version they call chocolate brut, creme brulee, etc.

          If you have a car, Vanille Patisserie on Clybourn does a nice combination of breads (excellent croissants) and pastries (like the delicious entremets pictured on their website). It's not that far but it's not terribly convenient to the el.

          One other place that does a nice job on breads is D'Amato's Bakery, which is a conventional Italian bakery that does a great whole wheat bread. It's on Grand near May Street Market (a nice restaurant) on the same block as Terry's Toffee (if you enjoy toffee). Not terribly far from Clark and Chicago, a little over a mile west.

          1. re: nsxtasy

            Thanks again. Sounds like Fox & Obel will win out unless I have at least 1.5 hrs to venture to SB / PN.

            Swedish Bakery sounds like the Swiss Bakery in VA, near DC ( PN reminds me of Guglhupf in NC (, which had stellar European pastries. Fox & Obel's web site reminds me of Weaver St Market in NC, whose breads I loved ( Coming from San Francisco, Fox & Obel sounds pretty promising for both bread and pastries.

            Out of curiosity, can you compare any of these places with anywhere in SF? My favorite place is Tartine for both bread and pastry (

            1. re: justtryit

              I can't compare them with places in San Francisco, sorry. I actually get to San Francisco periodically - I've tried nine of SFgate's list of top 100 restaurants in the Bay Area - but I don't usually get a chance to try local bakeries there.

      2. L'Appetito is an Italian Cafe/Deli/bakery/grocer on Wabash 1-2 blocks south of Chicago. Lot's of great quick bites available. It's perfect!

        1. You're only a couple of blocks away from Cafe Iberico. It can get pretty crowded at regular hours, but you might be able to snag some quick tapas and a sangria at the bar or on off-hours:

          739 N. La Salle St.
          Chicago, IL 60610-3523 312-573-1510

          1. Quick bites and snacks close to the 700 block of Clark, think of WholeFoods (organic supermarket) which is a couple of short blocks from there at Dearborn and Huron (faces on Huron). They have a complete line of pre-packaged snacks like fruit, salads, dips etc as well as a long trattoria-style hot foods line, salad bar, nice pastries in individual packages, breads, soups both seafood and not-seafood, etc. Also a very nice deli/salads service counter. You can put together pretty much any meal you want, hot or cold, and it's very quick, just in and out. Tables there or carry-out.