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Cupcakes, donuts and now croissants – fads come and go. Below, you won’t find the best new spots catering solely to the latest trend; instead, you’ll find the survivors who’ve lived past the fads to become the best Chicago bakeries, period. From 100-year-old institutions to authentic Mexican bakeries, and even a bakery inspired by a fusion of Chinese and Portuguese traditions, these spots will check all the boxes across your vast flavor palate.
Established in 1922 by a German immigrant, Dinkel’s is a stalwart among Chicago businesses. The Lake View bakery has expanded beyond the old-world recipes that built its reputation. Though the bakery’s stollen – a sweet bread made from almonds, cashews and fruit – is made the same today as it was 100 years ago, Dinkel’s in recent years has also expanded their space to include a modern coffee shop next to their bakery. The buttercream-topped chocolate cakes and chocolate cake donuts are among the best in the city.
Brown Sugar Bakery has been serving up some of the best sweet potato pie in the city for 15 years. The Greater Grand Crossing bakery soothes the sweetest of sweet tooths with a delightful selection of cakes, which include flavors like dreamsicle and caramel pecan. Like the sweet potato pie, the bakery’s peach, pear and apple pies are impossible to say no to.
Letizia’s prides itself on all-natural recipes. From their “decadent chocolate cakes” – raspberry truffle, white chocolate truffle and Belgian chocolate truffle – to the cheesecakes and pies, everything is made with all-natural ingredients and no artificial flavors or food colors. And the espresso bar is taken seriously, regularly bringing in freshly roasted beans from Caffè Umbria.
Roeser’s is the oldest bakery on the list, serving up delicious cakes since 1911. Few things have changed with how the cakes, tortes and cookies at Roeser’s taste in the past 100+ years. Even better, Roeser’s can custom design cakes to fit any shape, making them a great option for special occasions. The traditional fillings, from fresh strawberries and bananas to creamy custard or thick cream cheese, push the bakery’s cakes ahead of the competition.
Fat Rice, specializing in a fusion of Chinese and Portuguese food, had already earned rave reviews from the majority of Chicagoans when they opened The Bakery, offering sweet and savory delights during the day. Egg tarts, sweet buns and a dark chocolate brownie are among a few of the treats on the sweet menu; the savory menu contains highlights like cremoso, which is filled with a savory custard, bacon and scallions.
La Estrella has been serving up Mexican pastries in Logan Square for over a decade. Their selection of pan dulce (sweet bread) tastes like homemade perfection. If you don’t know enough Spanish to know what conchas or cuernos are, just point – you won’t be disappointed. And if all else fails, their flan is good enough to make this tiny operation one of the more popular, if not the most popular, Mexican bakeries in Chicago.