By Elizabeth SanFilippo
Michigan may be the home of the cherry, but Chicago has some delectable treats for you too. Whether you’re craving something sweet, or something sour, these five cherry dishes and drinks have what you’re looking for. So get thee to these restaurants and cafes this February to celebrate National Cherry Month as well as National Cherry Pie Day on February 20.
Bellezza Gelato Caffe
3637 N. Harlem Ave.
Chicago, IL 60634
Every gelato at Bellezza Gelato Caffe — as well as every sorbetto — is made with fresh, real fruit. While the offerings change quite frequently, the Tuscany-inspired cafe often offers a creamy spumoni that’s perfectly complemented by sweet cherries. Another option for cherry aficionados is the delightful dark chocolate cherry gelato, a wonderful combination, even in the colder months! Be sure to call ahead if it’s cherry flavors you want, but really, you can’t go wrong with any of these award-winning gelatos.
Cullen’s Bar & Grill
3741 N. Southport Ave.
Chicago, IL 60640
If you’re looking for a sweet drink, stop by this cozy pub, Cullen’s Bar & Grill in Lakeview. While chowing down on a burger, wash it down with a MC’s Old Fashioned, which combines the flavors of bitters, sugars and a splash of Sprite, orange and cherry with Maker’s Mark. This drink, along with many other flavorful cocktails, runs just $8.
Related: Best Holiday Take-Home Pies
4401 N. Ravenswood Ave.
Chicago, IL 60640
This bakery shop with multiple Chicago locations may specialize in unique pies, like a chocolate peanut butter pie and its seasonal roasted red wine pear streusel, but it also knows how to do the more traditional pies too. Give in to your cherry craving with the Michigan sour cherry pie that’s also a bit sweet. With everything in this pie made from scratch, this just might even beat grandma’s homemade recipe. A full pie will cost you $25, but it’s worth every bite.
5148 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60640
With Hopleaf’s extensive and amazing beer list, it’s no surprise that it has some wonderful beers that have a bit of cherry flavor. For $7.50, grab a Bockor Cuvée des Jacobins Rouge Goblet from the tap, which combines vanilla and woody funkiness, sour apple pucker and lots of tart cherry flavors in this Flemish sour ale. Other options include bottled beers like Samichlaus Hellemes that offers a faint cherry flavor in a sweet drink ($10), or a Cuvée des Jacobins, which is an unblended old lambic with dried cherry overtones, along with vanilla and stone fruit ($7.50). Pair these beers with some sweet and savory foods, like Hopeaf’s duck confit and polenta “tamale” — which comes with a dried cherry-pumpkin seed sage pesto–and your stomach will thank you. The menu changes frequently, so be sure to call ahead or check out the website to make sure the beers are in stock.
2723 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60614
Alexander Brunnaci’s newest restaurant, The Peasantry, takes street food to a whole new level in Lincoln Park. That includes the Chef Joey Doren’s duck wings appetizer, which is sous-vide in a dried cherry and mustard broth. If that’s not enough cherry flavor for you, have no fear. The appetizer also comes with a side of buttermilk vin and cherry mustard, inspired by Doren’s roots in Traverse City, where cherry dishes reign supreme.
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Elizabeth SanFilippo is a freelance writer, who enjoys trying new foods from all over the world. But her favorite city for culinary treats will always be Chicago. When not writing about food, she’s scribbling novels, and TV show reviews and recaps. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.