Winding through the aisles of the Chicago French Market (131 N. Clinton St.), you'll lose yourself in the charm of the space...and completely forget you're standing in a train station. Decked out with Parisian-style street signs that mark the aisles, this French-inspired marketplace is a friendly, healthy and delicious way for Chicagoans to get their groceries. With fresh produce and made-to-order baked goods, the Chicago French Market is an excellent way to shop like you're on the streets of Le Marais (if you can get over the thick Chicago accents of its employees).
Finding the Joint
The market is located 131 N. Clinton, adjacent to Ogilvie Station, and is just steps from Randolph Street Restaurant Row. This European marketplace came to life with the support of local farmers, artisans and the Bensidoun family, the largest market operator in and around Paris since 1953. Today, the space is a permanent, year-round location for local bounty. It houses nearly 30 individual specialty vendors that range from breads and pasta, baked goods and sweets, meats and cheeses.
Looking for a quality sandwich on the go for lunch hour? Little Goat Bread serves pastries in the morning, and come lunchtime offers soup and richly flavored sandwiches on baguettes, sourdough and a sampling a bread flavors that are also available at Girl & The Goat, chef Stephanie Izard's award-winning restaurant in the West Loop. Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine is also ready to serve you up some lunching food, with a full sandwich menu and unique salads, all made with their fine quality cheeses.
Stock up on fresh produce, meats and cheeses for the week along with some specialty essentials at the Chicago French Market. Both City Fresh Market and Pastoral offer up the highest quality of cheeses, with prepared meats available at over a dozen stands, including Buen Apetito, Le Café du Marche and RAW. Looking for a way to shake things up with your mundane homemade salads and meals? Oh, Olive! offers a selection of uniquely flavored olive oils that are both healthy and delectable, considered by the New York Times as some of the "great olive oil in America."
For Those With a Sweet Tooth
You can't walk into a French market and not be swayed to buy a macaroon or two, so be sure to stop by Delightful Pastries for authentic European pastries that though rich in taste are low in sugar. Traditional Polish and French savory specialties, such as pierogi and quiches, are also available. But no trip to the market is complete without a rummage through its beautiful collection of macaroons. FliP Crepes offers handmade crepes with health ingredients such as wheat flour, buckwheat and what germ, with the option of chocolates and jams on top.
Whether you're grabbing lunch for the day or buying fresh cooking supplies for the week, the Chicago French Market is absolutely worth strolling through.
Help us keep the lights on by subscribing to Chicago Like a Local. For your efforts, we'll deliver awesome stories (like this one) to your inbox. Do we have a deal?