Chef Wolen’s Culinary Guide to Chicago
With a wealth of award-winning restaurants and a community of incredibly talented chefs, Chicago is up there with some of the top culinary cities in the world. We asked Chef Lee Wolen, the guy who helped make our most recent goop x Cadillac dinner a huge success, to point us in the right direction for the best specialty shops, farmers markets, and under-the-radar spots to grab a bite in town.
For pizza, my favorite is the Black-and-White (black garlic pizza) from Nomad Pizza. I visit chef Jared Batson every Wednesday when he’s at the Green City Market, where Nomad has a pop-up pizza oven.
2070 N. Clybourn Ave. | 773.404.3475
These guys carry some wild fish that I typically can’t find anywhere else.
1220 W. Webster Ave. | 773.883.1313
This bakery in Lincoln Park makes the best canelés in Chicago.
810 W. Lake St. | 312.421.3666
Their tagline is “a candy story for cooks,” and I’d have to agree. They have everything from knives to prep tools to shoes.
1512 N. Wells St. | 312.274.0378
It’s right by my apartment so I can pop in at any time for hard-to-find spice blends.
1964 N. Halsted St. | 773.549.3883
Conveniently, this amazing butcher is across the street from Boka.
Armitage Ave. & Orchard St.
This is a twice-a-week market: Wednesday and Saturday. I like to take my dog Mocha on Wednesday mornings for a long walk and to visit the stands before the restaurant opens to order produce for the week ahead.
My sous chef Eddie and I like to go for dinner and bubble tea when we have the rare night off together. I’m starting to notice a theme here…
1750 W. Division St. | 773.278.2739
They have a Thai Iced Coffee with cold brew, coconut milk, cayenne, and Vietnamese cinnamon—great way to start my day.
802 W. Washington Blvd. | 312.666.4417
Well, I don’t ever drink, but when I need to bring something home to my wife, I stop in at Perman Wine Shop in the West Loop.
53 E. Lake. | 312.658.1250
They have a few locations around Chicago, and they all offer the unique cheeses that we feature on the dessert menu at Boka.
1233 N. Wells St. | 312.229.1400
This also happens to be right by my apartment so it’s always an easy trip for me when looking for fresh produce when cooking at home and a trip to the farmers market isn’t an option.
1547 N. Wells St. | 312.624.9430
La Fournette is a traditional French bakery that makes amazing fresh breads and pastries.