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May 4, 2011 02:13 PM

Must hit bakeries in River North/Downtown area

What are some great bakeries to stop by at in and around the River North area?

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  1. There are only two I would recommend:

    1. Fox & Obel, in River East. Their bread-type baked goods are the best in the city, and Bon Appetit magazine recently named them one of the ten best bakeries in the country. Wonderfully rich cinnamon swirl rolls, best bran muffins in the world, great brioche, great rustic fruit-nut breads, etc. Their tres leches cake is excellent, and I love their bread pudding, as well as their chocolate version that they call chocolate brut.

    2. Vanille Patisserie, which has a booth in the French Market in the commuter train station on the west side of the Loop. for the French Market, for Vanille. I really love their entremets. And their croissants are excellent as well. Not a lot of variety, but what pastries they do, they do exceptionally well.

    These two are great. I've tried most of the other bakeries downtown, and they've been pretty mediocre (especially Sarah's). I have NOT yet tried Belgian Hendrickx but I've heard good things.

    4 Replies
    1. re: nsxtasy

      Belgian Hendrickx bakes wonderful breads, pain au chocolat and lovely cakes with very high quality ingredients....I highly recommend them, however, they are not inexpensive.....

      1. re: mkaufman

        Thanks, sounds great, what would you guys recommend for a place that specializes in cookies or cupcakes

        1. re: ays89

          >> what would you guys recommend for a place that specializes in cookies or cupcakes

          Your own kitchen at home. :)

          1. re: nsxtasy

            There is a little cupcake shop (tiny, you can walk right by it) on the South side of W Madison St between Franklin and Wells. The door is right next to the parking garage. A young woman makes great cupcakes and she serves Inteligentsia coffee. There's also a branch of the Crumbs (i think it's from NY) also on W Madison one block further West.

            I have had some very innovative cupcakes at More on E Delaware in the Goldcoast. Small taste cupcakes with crazy stuff like bourbon centers.

    2. In River North I would get on the Brown Line at Chicago and get off it at Paulina, which would deliver me one short block from Dinkel's, an old-time German Chicago bakery where you can a) buy all the good old traditional stuff and b) get a cup of coffee and eat pastry right there.

      1. I feel compelled to update this thread. While technically a fryerie versus a bakery, one should try the doughnuts at Doughnut Vault on N Franklin and W Kinzie. See my post below.