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.
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.
In 1988, Auntie Anne's founders Anne and Jonas Beiler purchased a Pennsylvania farmers'-market stand, where they experimented with dough until they created a pretzel that seemed to strike the perfect chord with their customers. Today, at their more than 1,350 locations worldwide, the pretzel makers still hand roll the original recipe but have added to the menu with inventive options such as the eight signature dipping sauces. The team constantly explores new uses for the pretzel dough, such as wrapping it around hot dogs and slicing it into bite-size nuggets. To transform the snack into a meal, they accompany it with specialty drinks, including frozen-lemonade desserts.
When not twisting dough, Auntie Anne's team partners with the national charitable organization Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which raises funds to fight childhood cancer. Auntie Anne's also reaches out to the community through fundraising opportunities.
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.
Bakers at Cookies Fresco draw on Old-World recipes to craft creative, Italian-inspired confections from fresh eggs, nuts, sugar, and butter. Carefully selected packaging preserves the crisp crunch of cookies by the pound, including buttery biscotti and authentic peach, apricot, and nutella kolachky. Confectioners can also customize cakes for birthdays, anniversaries, and black-tie refrigerator warmings and concoct sugar-free items upon request.