Originally started by newly arrived Italian immigrants Mariano and Assunta Turano, Turano Baking Company began supplying the Chicagoland area with fresh, authentic breads in 1962. Their retail selection grew in popularity, inspiring them to open a bake shop at their Berwyn facility.
Serving customers bread and confections ever since, the bakery—newly renamed in 2008 after matriarch Assunta, or Mamma Susi—has become well known for its delicious Italian baked goods. Each edible item, whether it is a custom cake, a chocolate eclair, or a rustic sourdough round, is made fresh every day to ensure it offers optimum taste and up-to-the-minute headlines.
Mamma Susi Bakeshop Some spinoffs flop. But some manage to take flight and gain their own devoted following. Mamma Susi Bakeshop falls squarely into the second category. Originally started by newly arrived Italian immigrants Mariano and Assunta Turano, Turano Baking Company began supplying the Chicagoland area with fresh, authentic breads in 1962. Their retail selection grew in popularity, inspiring them to open a bake shop at their Berwyn facility.
Serving customers bread and confections ever since, the bakery—newly renamed in 2008 after matriarch Assunta, or Mamma Susi—has become well known for its delicious Italian baked goods and coffee. Each edible item, whether it is a custom cake, a piece of chocolate cannoli, or a rustic sourdough round, is made fresh every day to ensure it offers optimum taste and up-to-the-minute headlines.
Vito Brancato is a man of many trades: indie filmmaker, pro wrestler, and?at his neighborhood cafe in Berwyn?a purveyor of rich, earthy coffees and espressos and mouthwatering Italian cuisine. One of his online films series, At the Coffee Shop, even stars Caffe Palermo as the front for a Chicago gang's illicit activities. The tagline is "An espresso shot can be deadly," but have no fear upon entering; in real life the cafe is welcoming place to grab a bite?and not a bite out of crime.
Here, guests celebrate afternoons with paninis featuring Pecorino romano cheese on foccacia, and adds touches of decadence to patrons' morning commutes with their caffe mocha spiked with swirls of Nutella. As the anti-chain-store signs in the window proudly declare, each item on the menu is handmade by locals with care, from the Sicilian-style cannolis and lemon knots to the beans used to create every cup of espresso.
Athena Uslander used to be a structural engineer, but today she's a baker. If you asked Athena what the two professions have in common, she'd likely say attention to detail. If you asked her customers at Athena’s Silverland Desserts, however, they'd be too busy chewing a mouthful of cookie, rice treat, or brownie to answer. Since 1983, Athena has helmed the ovens at her bakery in Elmwood Park. Her signature brownie recipe has garnered her some national attention, including an appearance on Oprah and The Today Show. Now, customers nationwide call in or hire a banner plane to put in their orders for the confections that Athena and her staff make from all-natural ingredients—free of trans fats, additives, and preservatives.
Though many fro-yo shops have sprung up in recent years, TCBY is no newcomer to the scene. Since 1981, its shops have been scooping, swirling, and topping their lower-fat treat in crunchy candy and fruity sprinkles—but that doesn't mean they've been coasting. They're still innovating, whether it's tweaking standby flavors or developing their signature honey-vanilla Greek frozen yogurt that dishes out protein and fiber without any fat. Fro-yo artisans blend up Beriyo smoothies in flavors such as mangolada and purely peach or infuse Shivers with a choice of sweet topping options. To celebrate a birthday or a jury-duty-selection-pool reunion, you can opt for frozen yogurt cakes and pies. The piece-accommodating treats are layered with frozen yogurt and rich toppings to forge flavors such as chocolate decadence and peanut-buttery fudge pie.
When Salvatore Ferrara first arrived to Chicago in 1900, he earned a living using the pastry- and candy-making skills he had acquired in his home country of Italy. Within a few years, Salvatore opened Original Ferrara Bakery, an Italian bakery that gained popularity during the formative years of Taylor Street's Little Italy neighborhood. The bakery became especially well-known for its candies, which eventually branched out into a second business, Ferrara Pan Candy Company, the manufacturer of perennial favorites such as Lemonheads and Atomic Fireballs. In the meantime, Sal's wife Serafina nurtured the bakery, maintaining its reputation as she became known in the neighborhood as "the Angel of Halsted Street." And though the area has seen rampant transformation over the last century, Original Ferrara Bakery still stands, delighting patrons with its renowned candies and pastries.
Now in its third generation of Ferrara ownership, the Original Ferrara Bakery is run by Sal and Serafina's grandchildren who continue to adhere to their family's original practices. They use all-natural ingredients to create signature items such as cannoli cake--rum-soaked layers of fresh strawberries, Italian custard, and cannoli cream--as well as elaborately tiered wedding cakes, and bite-sized indulgences such as petit fours and Italian butter cookies. Over the years, a lunch menu has been added to the mix, offering options including Neapolitan-style pizza and chicken parmigiana.
During her rotations as a pastry chef in culinary school, Uzma Sharif caught the eye of her head chef by drizzling chocolate with the same technique she used to decorate hands with henna. “You’re going to be a great success with that someday,” he predicted. The roots of her talents as a chocolatier go back even deeper, however. In Pakistan, her pastry-chef grandfather was well known for his delicate pink macaroons, and her mother and seven aunts each inherited their father’s baking skills. In January 2011, Uzma followed in her family members' footsteps, founding her own shop to purvey her hand-crafted chocolate creations as Chocolat Uzma Sharif.
These confections brim with unexpected ingredients, such as candied rose petals, Kashmiri chai, and cardamom, or glow with floral colors, such as the pinks and blues on the ombre butterflies that are Uzma's current favorite. The chocolatier handpicks the ingredients that go into her sweet creations, choosing all-natural, organic options when possible. Focused on perfecting a small selection of goods, she makes her chocolates in small batches and packages them in eco-friendly boxes she’s designed herself.
During chocolate classes at her Pilsen kitchen, Uzma teaches students about the origins of raw chocolate and the science behind making a bar with the right sheen and snap. Uzma also shares methods for choosing good chocolate from store shelves, starting with deciphering the percentages on the label and asking it whether it’s been naughty or nice.