Choose from more than 60 hand-selected wines, a parade of seasonal cocktails, and a hearty assemblage of craft beers that changes from week to week. Chef Marianne Sundquist crafted In Fine Spirits' menu of seasonal American plates to include locally farmed, artisan, and organic products whenever possible. Complement a fiery spirit, in a glass or in a soul-capsule, with a colorful variety of olives ($5), or savor a cold plate of duck confit rillette in brown sugar, five spice, and thyme ($6). Gourmet flatbreads ($9–$10) sate carb cravings, while hot plates ($8–$14) fill substantial appetites. All menus shift seasonally, proving In Fine Spirits is part of the natural order and not an android posing as a dining destination.
George Stotis spent three decades selling furniture and antiques at his Chicago Recycle Shop in Andersonville, but his real passion was always conversation. His lifelong dream was to open his own neighborhood coffee shop where neighbors and new friends could gather to dine over in-depth discussions, and so, in 2009, the Sotis family established George’s Ice Cream and Sweets right next door to the old Recycle Shop storefront. A parade of familiar faces and new customers visit the shop each day, eager to devour waffle and pretzel cones piled with scoops of seasonal flavors of ice cream, or share laughs over plates of cobbler or cups of cappuccino. Walls covered in framed photos further the friendly, local-vibe, and cozy couches and armchairs are frequently filled with families sharing a pleasant afternoon out or neighbors swapping gossip about the town haberdasher.
Urban Orchard brings farm-fresh, organic produce to the Windy City. Seven days a week, the market imports fruits and vegetables from farms in Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois, ensuring their products come straight from the field to the shelf. Fill your basket with free-range eggs from Milo’s Farm, all-natural pork and free-range chicken from C&D Family Farm, veggies from Twin Garden Farms, and baked goods from B True Bakery. Beyond providing customers with fresh groceries, the market’s local-first philosophy also helps nearby farmers continue to thrive, saving them from having to sell their land to the mustachioed cartoon villain that lives down the road.
Jeff Dreyfuss and his son Tony each discovered a love of coffee independently. Jeff fell in love with the dark brew on after-class sojourns at local coffee shops during his tenure as an Indonesian Language Professor at the University of Washington-Seattle. Tony got his first taste of obsession when he landed a job sweeping floors in a coffee shop while contemplating what to do with his philosophy degree. The two talked to each other about coffee constantly, eventually finding the mutual inspiration to take the plunge into the roasting and brewing business. They opened Metropolis Coffee in 2001 to share their bean-driven bliss with the world. The team purchases their coffee directly from farmers, but doesn’t expose a single bean to heat until the crop arrives at the roasting facility in Chicago. Once there, they roast the coffee in small batches to order, ensuring that each cup brewed in-house or bag of beans for savoring at home came out of the roaster no earlier than the day before. Each barista first learns to appreciate the roasting process—and its tasty results—with hands-on training in the roasting facility before setting foot behind the counter at the company's Edgewater café. Armed with a beginning-to-end understanding of coffee creation, the drinksmiths brew and serve well-balanced beverages for coffee aficionados at an espresso-scented hangout that Time Out Chicago calls "outstanding."
At The Coffee Studio, style is important. The cafe, founded in December 2007 by a husband and wife team of designers, has since earned a deluge of glowing reviews for its meticulous approach to brewing as well as its ambiance. With an aesthetic that Time Out Chicago calls "midcentury modern" and Serious Eats characterizes as a "ski-chalet-cum-urban-oasis," the cafe courts a domestic, yet elegant brand of comfort. Guest sip on no-drip coffee while seated at long wooden tables beneath midcentury paper lanterns. This convergence of fashion and function is embodied in smaller form in the Cafe Solo, a glass carafe snugly insulated by a neoprene jumpsuit that keeps the coffee hot without burning it. Thanks to a partnership with Intelligentsia, The Coffee Studio brews its fair-trade beans within a couple weeks of roasting, a method that landed the business on Delish.com's "Cool Beans: The Best Coffee Shops in the U.S." and Bon Appetit Magazine's "Top 10 Best Boutique Coffee Shops" in 2010.
Robert Birnecker and Sonat Birnecker-Hart are devoted to the art of distilling. For Robert, it’s a family tradition: he still treasures memories of his grandparents’ award-winning Austrian distillery, where he often helped out as a child. A graduate of Oxford and the University of London, Robert's wife, Sonat, gave up a tenured academic position to pursue the couple’s dream of making their own spirits from scratch. Today, Robert and Sonat’s award-winning Koval Distillery is the first to open in Chicago’s city limits since Prohibition. There, they blend classic, mainstream techniques with contemporary, indie methods, ensuring quality by using only certified organic and kosher ingredients grown in the Midwest.
Using a Kothe potstill custom-made and hand-built in Germany, the husband-and-wife team produces small-batch spirits, including five original white whiskeys made from rye, oat, wheat, millet, and spelt mash. They also distill Lion’s Pride aged whiskeys, plus a selection of liqueurs and brandies, such as bierbrand made with Dynamo Copper Lager from neighbor Metropolitan Brewing. These spirits have won multiple local and national awards, from Whisky Magazine’s 100 Greatest Distilleries to Visit to the Chicago Reader’s Best Local Distillery.