Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Chicago Area >
Feb 28, 2014 07:26 PM

Favorite spot for coffee and pastries/desserts?

I had such good luck with my last question, I'm asking another:

What's your favorite spot in the city for an afternoon of coffee-drinking and dessert/pastry-eating?

We frequent Floriole, Kopi Cafe, and the Juilus Meinl on Southport, but we are looking for some new places, especially ones that offer a good selection of pastries/desserts.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Star Lounge on 2521 W. Chicago. Phenomenal coffee (Dark Matter), nice space and friendly staff. Not the largest food selection, but sufficient and also high quality. Wish I lived closer - would be in all the time. Fortunately they have a sister location opening in my neck of the woods (Lakeview) later this year.

    1. My top pick these days is Bad Wolf Coffee in Lakeview. The owner, Jonathan Ory, has a fine-dining background, with time at Schwa and Momofuku. His selection of pastries isn't huge, but they are some of the very best you'll find anywhere. The caneles are mind-blowing; they come out of the oven at 10:00 a.m. each day, and if you can get them while they are warm, they are sheer perfection. The kouign amann is also outstanding; I didn't understand why people rave about this item until I tried his. Photos below show caneles and a kouign amann from Bad Wolf Coffee, pictured on six-inch plates.

      Bad Wolf Coffee
      3422 N. Lincoln Ave.
      Chicago, IL, 60657
      Open Wed-Mon 7a-6p, closed Tuesdays.

      I also recommend Vanille Patisserie, especially for their entremets (individual-sized mousse cakes) and croissants. They now have three locations, including two in Lincoln Park:

      Vanille Patisserie
      2229 N. Clybourn Ave.
      Chicago, IL 60614
      Chicago French Market Located Inside The Ogilvie Metra Station
      131 N. Clinton St.
      Chicago, IL 60661
      2108 N. Clark St.
      Chicago, IL 60614

      9 Replies
      1. re: nsxtasy

        Bad Wolf, of course, but, it should be noted that in the afternoon, depending on what time, there's a chance that day's pastry stock will be a distant memory. There's no doubt that it's stellar. No doubt at all.

        1. re: gordeaux

          >> in the afternoon, depending on what time, there's a chance that day's pastry stock will be a distant memory.

          Very true. Good advice.

          I've generally gone in late morning (between 10 and 12) and been okay.

        2. re: nsxtasy

          Thanks, folks! We're going to give Bad Wolf a try on Saturday afternoon and keep our fingers crossed that--by some miracle--a pastry or two is leftover.

          1. re: emiliewasmyeve

            While Bad Wolf is still my fave spot for coffee and pastries, another thing you might want to consider is that they don't have any chairs. The cafe is set up so that you stand around a bar in the middle of the room.

            Also, when I was there a couple of Sundays ago at around 12:30, there were only 2 types of pastries left. Two croissants and a tray of the raspberry oatmeal bar, which I thought was his best iteration of a raspberry pastry yet.

            You can also try Dollop in Uptown if you are close by. They serve Metropolis Coffee and Hoosier Mama Pies among others.

            1. re: sunbrace

              The no chairs thing is kind of a killer for a long and lazy Saturday afternoon coffee stop, but we'll still have to try it early one Saturday for the pastries!

            2. re: emiliewasmyeve

              If you aren't satisfied with the selection of pastry on Bad Wolf when you arrive, you can head south a mile and a half to Vanille Patisserie's location on Clybourn. You can then hit Floriole, which is just a few blocks east of Vanille.

            3. re: nsxtasy

              Hey Nsxtasy: Is that plate yours or Bad Wolf's? Pretty sure it's Hadley Pottery, or maybe Louisville Stoneware, both from my hometown. BTW, welcome back to the Chicago board. Your detailed posts to visitors were missed.

              1. re: GourmetWednesday

                Good eye! It is my plate, and it is indeed Hadley Pottery. You can see more of my Hadley collection in the photo below. I've visited the factory in Louisville numerous times, and bought many seconds at the factory store. I enjoy visiting Louisville; it seems to have a lot of creative, interesting restaurants, more than you might expect for a city of its size.

                Thanks for your kind words!

                1. re: nsxtasy

                  Nice! Yes, the restaurant scene keeps getting better and better.

            4. Another nice place to sit and have a local coffee is at Robust Coffee Lounge at 416 W Ontario St in River North. Its a great locally owned neighborhood (mine as a matter of fact) spot. The bring in pastry and other goodies from many local Chicago bakeries and have a very good kitchen for a more substantial meal if you desire.

              1. Cafe Selmarie. And in summertime you can sit outdoors under the trees.

                1. Although the coffee is not my favorite, I adore the cakes and pastries at Taste of Heaven on Clark Street in Andersonville. I also really like Letizia's Bakery near Division and Western.