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Oct 2, 2008 10:38 AM

Bulk spices

I am looking for a grocery store or other retail venue that sells spices (and possibly tea) in bulk.

Thank you!

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  1. For bulk spices The Spice House -- one on Central St. in Evanston; one on Wells St. in the city. -- is wonderful. for tea I kind of like the Argo outlets. There's one on Armitage.

    4 Replies
    1. re: chicgail

      In addition to the two previously-mentioned locations, the Spice House also has a location in west suburban Geneva (and also in Milwaukee). Great place, great recommendation.

      For tea, if Evanston happens to be convenient for you, I recommend Dream About Tea, on Davis Street.

      1. re: nsxtasy

        I will add my voice to the wonders (and wonderful smells) of the spice house - for tea I will throw a third choice Casteel Coffee in evanston as well as woderful loose tea

        1. re: weinstein5

          Thanks for the tip! This is just what I was looking for.

      2. re: chicgail

        I second the spice house is the best place in the area

      3. I am a Penzey's fanatic...they don't have tea, but spices in bulk at great prices. Locations in Naperville and I think Oak Park - you can also order online/catalogues. EXCELLENT customer service when calling and many times they throw in free spices for you to try.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Wrigley12

          You know that Spice House and Penzey is pretty much one in the same, don't you? Bill Penzry Sr founded the Spice House and sold interest to daughter Patty Erd, Bill Jr. founded Penzey's on his own. I've often gone into my local Spice House and seen Penzey packaging, some even labeled Spice House-Penzey's. Either way, you can't go wrong for freshness.

          1. re: LikestoEatout

  , I did not. I just assumed they originated in WI due to their headquarters being there. Well that sure takes care of the desire to go to Spice House! The Penzeys in Naperville is by me more than Spice House. Thanks for the tip!

            1. re: LikestoEatout

              They do have their differences, though--there are some different blends, different products, etc. For example, Penzeys only carries "Smoked Paprika" while The Spice House carries both "Sweet" and "Hot" Smoked Paprika. The Spice House in the Chicago area doesn't carry sausage seasoning blends (at least the one in Evanston doesn't--they said people in Chicago weren't all that interested in buying them, but you can find some at the main store in WI), while Penzeys does. The Spice House has tomato powder, but Penzeys doesn't.

              I'm a little surprised to hear about finding the same packaging in both stores. It was my understanding that there was some tension between the two families, but perhaps that has changed. Either way, there are definitely reasons to visit both places, and not limit yourself to one or the other.

              1. re: prasantrin

                I was just in the Geneva branch of The Spice House on Saturday and my receipt says "Proudly operated by the Penzey family since 1957". That said, in either form, they have the absolute freshest spices around. We used to go to the Naperville Penzey's but are very happy to have The Spice House about 2 miles from our home now. They have been there a year.

          2. Agreed that Spice House is a great recommendation. I just love walking into the store and being hit by the wonderful smells. As for tea, I also like Argo Tea, but I have to say that I think I like Tea Gschwendner better - their tea is really fabulous and they have a bigger selection and friendly tea "experts" to help you choose. They are located near the State/Rush intersection.

            1. 1) Go up to Devon Avenue to the Indian/Pakistani neighborhood running along Devon west of Western Avenue and check out the supermarkets. There are several named Patel's but one of these, on the north side of the street, is much larger than the others. A lot of stuff is sold bulk from barrels but the spices are in 1-lb bags. for very reasonable prices. 2) Not sold from barrels but the best spice value I have found anywhere in Chicago is at Tony's Finer Foods (Fullerton & Central Park, Elston & Hamlin, and a couple of other locations---see phone book). Tony's sells 1-lb shaker-top plastic jugs of spices. Last week I bought a pound of cinnamon and a pound of granulated garlic for $2.99 each.

              1. There use to be a place on randolph near halsted that sold bulk spices not sure about tea , only thing cash only - looked like a warehouse - dont know if they are still there not sure if they take checks

                1 Reply
                1. re: sand12

                  That stretch of Randolph was the Randolph Street Market, and years ago consisted almost entirely of food providers, primarily of produce and primarily wholesalers (although they would sell to anyone). In recent years many of those shops have been converted to restaurants and so that stretch is now more of a "restaurant row".