Chicago's Rich Dessert and Coffee History Means Delicious Offerings

Most people don’t know of Chicago’s rich chocolate and candy history. In fact, it’s been said the Charles F. Gunther was responsible for introducing caramels in America and would sell them from his Clark Street candy business before it burned to the ground during the Great Chicago Fire in 1871. During Prohibition, when alcohol was banned across the country, Chicago turned local taverns into ice cream shops and confection parlors.

While bars have since begun serving booze again, Chicago still offers a generous helping of delicious bakeries, pie shops and confiseries that serve decadent desserts as well as quaint coffee shops where you can spend hours reading a good book or chatting with friends.

If you fancy a glass of champagne or wine with your exotic truffles, head to Vosges Chocolate in Lincoln Park where you can pair the two in the boutique. Katherine Anne Confections has the most decadent hot chocolate (complete with homemade pillowy marshmallows) we’ve ever tasted.

For coffee, Intelligenstia started here and has several outposts throughout the city that serves up its own roasted blends. First Slice gives back as part of its pie sales.

Fancy being able to make some of those desserts? Places Chocolat Uzam Sharif in Pilsen offers regular classes to pastry chef wannabees.

Dietary restrictions don’t need to hold you back. Places like Rose’s Wheat Free Bakery & Café caters to people with dietary restrictions.

Chicago’s coffee and dessert history is rich, just as the city likes its decadent vices.

Tucked within the Lill Street Art Center, a popular arts studio that offers classes, gallery and a gift shop, is one of several First Slice Pie Cafe outposts. Each pie and all of the baked goods are made from scratch and while they're all...  Read More

Restaurants and bars line Division Street and nestled between them is Alliance Bakery, beckoning passerby to stop and appreciate the spectacular artistic cakes on display in their front window. Walk inside the small space to a colorful dessert...  Read More

Tucked behind the Treasure Island, Bonjour Cafe Bakery offers a beautiful selection of hot coffee and tea as well as French pastries and other baked goods. From macarons to croissants stuffed with all sorts delicious fillings and plenty of...  Read More

Homemade pies and biscuits is the name of the game at Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits in Logan Square. Selections change regularly but a few regulars keep appearing which makes many of us quite happy. But just as exciting as the pies are the...  Read More

This street-side shop, winner of Chicago Magazine's "Best of Chicago," enjoys a loyal local following thanks to its expert gourmet coffee blends. Aside from tasting heavenly, Intelligentsia's coffees bear such colorful names as Black Cat and...  Read More

To say one will get addicted to the hot chocolate, topped with pillowy, home-made marshmallows, at Katherine Anne Confections would be an understatement. Order some delicious hot chocolate and relax at the confiserie where the truffles, caramels...  Read More

The main draw at this hip spot, run by James Beard Award winning pastry chef Mindy Segal, are the stunning, gourmet chocolate desserts. Mindy's Hot Chocolate also serves entrees such mac and cheese which many consider some of the best mac and...  Read More

Ever wondered if you have what it takes to make artisanal chocolates? Take a class with Uzma Sharif at her boutique in Pilsen: Chocolat Uzam Sharif. The chocolatier provides the same attention to detail to her chocolates (which bear ingredients...  Read More

Founder and Chocolatier Katrina Markoff has created a luxury chocolate and truffle empire by fusing indigenous spices, flowers, roots, herbs and liqueurs into each of her handmade pieces. Markoff uses the power of storytelling to engage her...  Read More


Meet Megy Karydes

Megy Karydes has spent more than 20 years as a professional writer and most of her life in Chicago. While she’s traveled extensively internationally, visiting each of the 50 states is on her...  More About Megy