By far, I have recommended Floriole more often and to more people than any other “bakery” in the country. I call it a bakery but they call themselves a “cafe and bakery”.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s definitely a cafe too. On steroids. But if you know me the fact that when I walked in the very first time I spent 30 minutes just at the bakery case, won’t surprise you at all. I couldn’t decide what to get so I got a few things. And took some to go. Of all the places I’ve eaten in Chicago over the years this place still stands out the most. And as I’m sure many of you know, Chicago has good food. Really good food.
Here’s what it says on their website at the top of the menu. Which explains why they are so so good at what they do:
“We strive to use the best organic ingredients from local farmers whenever possible. Our menu changes according to produce availability and the creativity of our bakers, so the items below may not be available every day.”
A huge takeaway for me from my experience as a baker many years ago was the fact that the very best bakeries do not have 1) the same menu everyday and 2) allow the bakers to be creative with ingredients. I worked at 2 very successful bakeries although very different. At one, we did a cake that sold out just minutes after we opened. That cake was featured just one day a week. At another bakery where I did all of the baking 100–150 trays a day!!, people called ahead to place their orders if they wanted to be sure to get exactly what they wanted. Because the likelihood of it being available or not sold out could be taking a huge chance.
The thing about baking that I think some people miss is that freshness is key. Even something baked with rather mediocre ingredients is going to taste so much better if it’s fresh. Change the ingredient component to the best of the best coupled with freshness and oh my!! That’s why I love bakeries that are sold out or nearly sold out by the afternoon. Just come back tomorrow. Or call ahead and special order or ask them to hold something for you. I did this at a wonderful 5 Heart-Rated bakery, Craft Bread, in Roanoke, Virginia. Their delicious Kouign-Amann sells out daily. When I called at 10:00 am, there was only 1 left!! They put it aside for me. Here it is in the photo.
Sorry, I digress a lot when the subject is great bakeries… Back to Floriole.
I love the atmosphere, the location, the people, the menu, just everything about this place. They have a new menu. Which really doesn’t mean anything to me. I would go there no matter what they do with the menu. They clearly know what they’re doing! Here’s their website. Follow them on Facebook, but I’m warning you if you do, you’ll wanna get on a plane ASAP and visit this amazing place!
Floriole Cafe and Bakery - Lincoln Park, Chicago
Floriole Cafe and Bakery specializes in French pastries using fresh, local ingredients and was named Chicago's Best…
PS If you do plan to visit Chicago (my favorite big city in the US) contact me and I’ll give you some ideas.