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.
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.
Every morning, the dough masters at Aracely's Bakery rise before dawn to craft house-made cupcakes, pastries, and sandwiches to bejewel their display cases. Confectionary artists transform dreams into fondant-covered reality by crafting custom cakes for birthdays, baby showers, and Eat a Portrait of Your Boss day. Meanwhile, traditional Mexican recipes lend sweetness to cakes and spice to 11 kinds of sandwiches, whose ingredients include avocado, chihuahua cheese, and secret sauce, and pack flavor into handheld meals.
The multitalented chef behind Daisy Cake Boutique cut her sweet teeth studying confectionery at Kendall College and the French Pastry School, where she worked beside internationally acclaimed pastry chefs Jacquy Pfeiffer and Sébastian Canonne. Soon after graduating, she founded her own gourmet bakery, which rocketed to popularity as soon as locals began to stop in and sample her beautifully wrought desserts.
Today, the artful swirls of buttercream and fondant icing that top Daisy Cake Boutique’s handcrafted wedding cakes and pastries continue to earn new fans. Each of the bakery’s creations boasts a distinctive and elegant design; signature flourishes include vine-like icing, whimsical polka dots, and functional hiding spaces. Guests flock to wedding or party cakes for second helpings, and boxes of cookies, cannolis, and other sweets sate appetites between desserts. The bakery’s selection of gourmet cupcakes includes flavors that range from german chocolate to peanut butter and jelly.
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.