Fresh Farms International Market showers its shoppers in grocered greatness, including organic produce, fresh meats and seafood, imported cheeses, and international breads. Tread toward the counter of fresh-caught seafood and reel in one of the market’s aquatic edibles, such as wild octopus ($2.99/lb.), fresh flounder fillets ($9.99/lb.), or live lobster ($7.99/lb.). Protein pilgrims can set sail for the meat department, which can help them build a new society based on hand-cut steaks, smoked ham shank ($1.49/lb.), and young duckling ($2.49/lb.). Cheerful cheesemongers cater to customers’ fancies for foreign fromage, including selections from cheese-making nations such as Bulgaria, Finland, Hungary, and Russia. Sink lactose-longing teeth into a Bulgarian feta ($2.99/lb.) or a block of Mountain Brand Swiss cheese ($3.99/lb.) whose neutrality is betrayed by its clear preference for deliciousness. The market’s fresh produce includes California broccoli ($0.79/lb.) and Wisconsin dry yellow onions ($0.19/lb.), and its bustling bakery churns out French baguettes and Italian ciabatta rolls ready to be transformed into sandwiches or whittled into Earl of Sandwich action figures.
The hand-drawn signs in the windows of Family Fruit Market’s bright-red home on Cicero display the shop’s best specials—and, inside, produce bins and deli cases display only its freshest items. You’re likely to see a lot of staff on the floor of this two-decade-old neighborhood favorite, checking and rotating the stock of meats, fruits, and vegetables throughout the day. Six days a week, they’re also busy receiving deliveries of meat, including U.S. Grade-A chicken and USDA Choice beef for the oven and grill.
Behind the deli counter sits a gallery of domestic and imported cheeses and meats selected to appeal to the surrounding neighborhood, even the guy down the street who doesn’t like too many holes in his swiss. Packaged groceries are curated with equal care. Highlights of the inner aisles include a broad selection of European condiments, Hispanic seasonings, and bulk snacks such as spicy dried mango and guacamole-seasoned mixed nuts.
In 1946, two Hagen brothers staked a claim using money their father, himself a fisherman, got from taking out a mortgage on the family home. Now, a pair of the founders' granddaughters and their husbands preside happily over an ever-expanding selection of fresh fish, shellfish, and shucked oysters flown in from around the world. Smoke from hardwood flames saturates the tender meat of salmon and trout, delighting nostrils and drawing feral firefighters to scratch at the door. Patrons wander in past the shop's colorful Viking ship mural to deposit personal catches in the smoker or peruse fried shrimp, chicken, and trays for parties. Brimming shelves push forward Scandinavian specialty items such as lutefisk, pickled herring, and lingonberries, which beg for inclusion in recipes or inaccurate dioramas of the first Thanksgiving.
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.
Since its establishment in 1936, Schaefer's has acquired a wealth of notoriety for its comprehensive yet complex assortment of complementary flavors. The drinkporium stocks hundreds of bottles of globally acquired wines, and fills aisles with unusual and exotic beers. The spirits department lines up anything from top-shelf whiskey to high-proof elixirs. And the gourmet goods section hosts fine, finger-friendly apps and pairables, such as imported French Saint-André cheese ($14.99 per lb.), Cacciatore artisan salami ($18.99), chocolates, and dips, making customers want to hold back a few shillings in their satchels. Because Schaefer's maintains its commitment to diversity and quality, items such as wine, beer, and liquor bottles range from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars each.