Whites and yolks are the stars of the menu at EggShells Restaurant, a little breakfast and lunch spot nestled in the Pine Ridge Courte Shopping Center. Chefs whip up four-egg omelets laden with meats, veggies, and cheeses, as well as stuff breakfast burritos with scrambled eggs and spicy chorizo. They make their own donuts, bagels, and papier-mâché chef hats in house, and receive daily deliveries of bread from LaBriola Bakery. These soft, fresh slices bookend build-your-own deli sandwiches at lunchtime, while housemade chips and other sides accompany 10-ounce steak burgers.
In French eclairs, German streudel, and Polish kolaczi, the bakers at Sugar Hills Bakery let their European inspiration show. Regardless of whether a recipe comes from across the Atlantic—the staff also makes cupcakes, cake pops, cookies, and wedding cakes—all of Sugar Hills’ baked goods are all made with fresh, high-quality ingredients.
While the food combinations aren’t truly endless at Bentley’s Bagels & Brews, there are than enough fluffy bagel and topping options to keep customers trying something new over a few years of breakfasts. At the top of the long list of options are 15 varieties of bagels, baked fresh every morning and topped with schmears of fruity or savory cream cheese or butter. During breakfast hours, the team layers bagels with ham, eggs, and bacon, and during the lunch hour they recreate classic options such as BLTs and lox sandwiches. Cups of piping hot coffee and fresh-squeezed orange juice are also there to help fuel and reenergize diners after long nights of doing sheep inventory.
Day in and day out, Metra’s northwest train pulls into the Des Plaines stop, just opposite of Pop O Licious Popcorn. A brick building on the corner, the shop brandishes a bright blue and yellow sign with promises of fresh-made, gourmet popcorn. The family of popcorn pioneers creates more than 60 varieties of classic and flavored kernels each and every day, from staples such as butter, kettle corn, and caramel corn to innovative flavors including creamy dill, hot cinnamon, and even fruity tutty. For casual snacking, the shop owners can scoop the fresh-popped kernels into bags that come in four sizes, while gift-givers and musicians in need of a new drum can order their snack in a decorative tub. Beyond popcorn, Pop O Licious purveys Maurice Lenell cookies and handmade milk chocolates.
Tucked inside the sprawling Japanese emporium that is Mitsuwa Marketplace, Pastry House Hippo serves up more than 150 types of baked goods every day. From sweet chocolate-filled buns in the shape of turtles to savory steamed pork buns in the shape of buns, this pastry shop replenishes the display cases with fresh baked goodies throughout the day.
Checkered tablecloths and vintage black-and-white photos from the 1940s evoke small-town Tuscany at Lauretta's Italian Bake Shop & Cafe, whose chefs have assembled authentic Sicilian-style cuisine for more than 30 years. Homemade pomodoro sauce mingles with the porcini mushrooms and caramelized onions that fleck risotto, and fresh baby clams or mussels frolic through linguine entrees. To create paninis, chefs crown toasted ciabatta bread with such accoutrement as jarlsberg swiss cheese, yellowfin tuna imported from Italy, and childhood memories of revered measuring cups. Diners complement bites with Italian beers and wines, including a crisp, fruity prosecco and a medium-bodied chianti, whose tart red-fruit and chocolate flavors pair well with spinach ravioli and still-life paintings of Hershey's bars. A family-owned Chicago bakery furnishes the eatery's fleet of traditional italian pastries, such as cannoli and more than 30 kinds of italian cookies. Lauretta's Italian Bake Shop & Cafe also proffers comprehensive catering spreads, dishing up pans of lasagna, ravioli, and chicken marsala that can feed up to 15 partygoers, or custom orders that can sate finicky flatware.