Cloud Gate sculpture, nicknamed The Bean, created by Anish Kapoor, in front of the skyline with Legacy at Millennium Park Building, The Heritage, Pittsfield Building, AT&T Plaza, Millennium Park, Chicago, Illinois, United States of America, USA, North America

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.

  • Nomad Pizza

    Nomad Pizza


    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.

  • Dirk’s Fish & Gourmet Shop

    Dirk’s Fish & Gourmet Shop

    2070 N. Clybourn Ave. | 773.404.3475

    These guys carry some wild fish that I typically can’t find anywhere else.

  • Floriole Cafe & Bakery

    Floriole Cafe & Bakery

    1220 W. Webster Ave. | 773.883.1313

    This bakery in Lincoln Park makes the best canelés in Chicago.

  • Northwest Cutlery in Fulton Market

    Northwest Cutlery in Fulton Market

    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.

  • The Spice House in Old Town

    The Spice House in Old Town

    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.

    Gepperth’s Meat Market

    Gepperth’s Meat Market

    1964 N. Halsted St. | 773.549.3883

    Conveniently, this amazing butcher is across the street from Boka.

  • Lincoln Park Farmers Market

    Lincoln Park Farmers Market

    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.

  • Anywhere in Chinatown

    Anywhere in Chinatown

    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…

  • Caffe Streets in Wicker Park

    Caffe Streets in Wicker Park

    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.

  • Perman Wine Shop

    Perman Wine Shop

    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.

  • Pastoral Artisan Cheese

    Pastoral Artisan Cheese

    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.

  • Plum Market

    Plum Market

    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.

  • La Fournette

    La Fournette

    1547 N. Wells St. | 312.624.9430

    La Fournette is a traditional French bakery that makes amazing fresh breads and pastries.