Baking is a family affair at Sweety Pies Bakery, which is run by Arden and Bruce Kruger and their daughter and son, Dana and Chad. They told the Skokie Review that their passion started as a hobby; before opening the bakery, the family constantly made pies from recipes passed down from Dana and Chad's grandmother. In 2007, they opened Sweety Pies, and their housemade cupcakes, scones, and cookies have been gobbled up by visitors to downtown Skokie ever since. Everything's made from scratch in small batches using ingredients such as real sweet-cream butter and freshly cracked eggs. Their dedication has earned them such accolades as a first-place finish in the Skokie Patch's readers’ choice awards for their cakes—but it's their pies that truly set the bakery apart.
"Everything here is really good, especially the pies," Ted Brunson raved on an episode of Chicago's Best after sampling Sweety Pies’ rum-laced Crocodile pecan pie, dense chocolate cashmere pie, and raspberry supreme pie, which has a sour-cream topping that lends a cheesecake-like flavor to each bite. The Krugers never add preservatives to anything, so visitors should immediately teleport home with their turtle brownies or handmade scones, or consume the treats onsite in the cozy dining room along with cups of Intelligentsia coffee. The menu also includes quiches, soups, and granola by the pound.
Though the phrase Tranyslvanian bakery might conjure up images of a pale, fanged man leaning over a bowl of blood pudding, the baked goods at Ovy Bakery aren't sinister, just sinful. As a child, head baker Ovidiu "Ovy" Pop learned the sweeter side of his homeland's history by learning how to bake the region's iconic sweets under the tutelage of his mother. She taught him how to create the fluffy layers of creme, the moist layers of sponge cake, and the light pastry puffs that serve as the building blocks for most of his desserts. After honing his skills at Kendall College culinary school and at Michelin-rated bakeries in Chicago, he decided to bring the desserts from his homeland to Skokie. He now spends all of his time making his favorite Romanian sweets, such as the spumoasa, which alternates layers of puff pastry with strawberry-foam cream, and an orange diplomat creme rolled in yellow sponge cake and topped with orange whipped cream. Like a brewery's repairman, many of Ovy's desserts come soaked in liquor––such as the amandina's rum-infused chocolate sponge cake––adding a hint of indulgence to the decadent treats.
In 1997, friends Dena Tripp and Debra Shwetz set out to create a luscious, melt-in-your-mouth bundt cake. What began as an endeavor in their own home kitchens soon blossomed into a bustling business with bakeries in 21 states. Rich cocoa browns and soft pastels lend a nostalgic feel to each bakery, where every day ovens warm up cake batter made from fresh eggs, real butter, and cream cheese. Flavors such as chocolate chocolate chip, red velvet, and white-chocolate raspberry are favorite staples, and a new seasonal flavor makes a guest appearance each month. Cakes come in several sizes, from the standard 8- or 10-inch bundt to the single-serving bundtlet and the bite-size bundtini, all crowned with signature cream cheese frosting.
Since 1981, TCBY has been synonymous with frozen yogurt. The company spearheaded the guiltless consumption of low-fat, chilled dairy treats with iconic flavors such as white chocolate mousse topped with fresh fruit and candy. Today, TCBY yogurt shops across the country continue the tradition with classic and specialty flavors such as caramel supreme, greek honey vanilla, and sugar- and fat-free mountain blackberry.