The artful bakers at Upper Crust Bagels craft more than 15 varieties of kettle-boiled New York–style bagels fresh daily. The dough wizards work through the night to forge the circular comestibles, deftly mixing, shaping, and punching out their centers to ensure that they rise from their nocturnal slumber. Esurient shoppers can construct a baker’s dozen of flavor halos, populating their assembly with savory and sweet denizens such as sundried tomato, pumpernickel, and chocolate chip, along with a plain bagel for frills-free palates. Once a phalanx of 13 disks has been bagged up, nibblers appoint one of Upper Crust’s freshly whipped cream cheeses to the role of bagel haberdasher, cloaking floury plains with rich layers of spreads such as light lox spread or cheddar cheese.
Adi Mor opened the first Garden Fresh Market in 1980, selling fresh produce from a 1,000-square-foot lot in Skokie, which he would stock by taking 2 a.m. trips to Chicago's South Water market. Today, Garden Fresh Market sprawls over six suburban locations, where fresh produce from apples to zucchinis is still procured daily.
Grocery items range from fresh meat from Midwest famers to a wide selection of ethnic foods and national brands. The deli slices meats and cheeses both domestic and imported, and house-made seasonal salads and main courses make bringing dinner home easier than stealing it from a neighbor's windowsill. Many of the market's online recipes have even made it onto NBC5, giving its cooks their share of 15 minutes of fame.
“Our father and grandfather have been in the wholesale and retail produce business, and that type of store was a natural for us,” Isaac Nava says, referring to the market and deli he opened with his brother Moishe in 2010. The third establishment to bear the Nava name, it supplies first and second spots—both homestyle Mexican restaurants—with fresh fruits and veggies, meat, and dairy products. Customers will also find plenty of household goods lining the grocery store’s aisles. And at the deli counter, a sprawling menu details sandwiches made with salami, roast beef, and turkey, as well as wraps, salads, and freshly blended smoothies that constantly battle with daily soups over the control of cups, bowls, and curved hands.
The Burhop family keeps their fish markets stocked with just-caught, never-frozen goods. They do this by going right to the source?wholesale distributors in Alaska, Hawaii, New England, and as far away as Australia. Their connections with these distributors stretch over the course of Burhop's 88-year history, which started when Albert "Pops" Burhop founded a wholesale-seafood business in downtown Chicago. When locals started offering him money and moon rocks in exchange for the prized cuts of fish, Pops decided to cut out the middleman.
Today, they proudly report that many of their loyal customers are transplants from the East and West Coasts, where fresh seafood is easier to come by. Ironically, Burhop's gets fresher stuff than many stores on the coasts do, thanks to Chicago's central location, which enables quick shipping from all of America's shores. In the shop, customers can watch as the filleters skillfully ply their craft. Get to know your Burhop?s fish mongers! A series of online video tutorialss teach home chefs to prep mouthwatering lobster tails, soft shell crabs, tuna burgers, and more.
When Grand Food Center calls itself "your local grocer," it's not lip service. That's because the grocery store's staff offers up personable services, whether they're whipping up healthy meals to go or planning a catering event with clients. They also helm all of the classic grocery store departments, including produce, deli, bakery, and seafood, without the impersonal feel or robotic arms found at large grocery chains. More proof of their dedication to the neighborhood: they regularly participate in charity events, including food pantry drives and children's sports fundraisers.
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.