The only thing better than a fresh cup of coffee? When it’s paired with a fresh pastry or piping hot food. These five local coffee shops may serve some of the best coffee in town – yes, even better than Starbucks – but they also know how to do food right. Whether you have a hankering for a bagel with your coffee or a full-fledged meal, your stomach will thank you with a stop at any of these shops.
The Bourgeois Pig Cafe
738 W. Fullerton Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614
Bourgeois Pig is packed pretty much week round, and patrons aren’t coming in for just the brewed drip du jour, depth charge (espresso and drip coffee), hot teas and hot chocolates. The Lincoln Park hotspot also offers fresh hot-off-the-press paninis for around $8. As a popular study spot, it also rightfully serves classic sandwiches with literary names like “The Sun Also Rises” (turkey with hummus, tomatoes, swiss cheese and tomato bread), “Pilgrim’s Progress” (turkey, avocado, red onion, swiss cheese and mayo on sourdough) and “The Hobbit” (a grilled BLT), among many others. The cafe also offers a healthy mix of salads.
Beans & Bagels
1812 W. Montrose
Chicago, IL 60625
With locations both in Lincoln Square and North Center, this coffee shop offers locally roasted coffee, as well as bagels (naturally) and so much more. Grab a bagel with a variety of cream cheese spreads or other toppings (such as hummus or peanut butter). Or, if your appetite requires more, get a bagel sandwich, such as the lox bagel slathered in not only lox but cream cheese, onions, capers, spinach and tomatoes. The coffee shop also offers an assortment of panini sandwiches. But be sure to get there early, because it is known to run out of bagels, especially on Saturdays.
Letizia’s Natural Bakery
2144 W. Division St.
Chicago, IL 60622
Letizia’s in Wicker Park is a full espresso bar, but as the cafe’s name implies, it’s a lot more than that too. The bakery offers an assortment of fresh muffins, pastries and cookies, and has been since 1995. Even better, all of its offerings taste homemade, because Letizia’s uses natural ingredients and doesn’t use substitutes or preservatives. And all of the baked items pair perfectly with the coffee, which is made by baristas trained by Caffe Umbria.
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Julius Meinl Coffee Shop
3601 N. Southport Ave.
Chicago, IL 60613
This Vienna coffee house only has North America locations in Chicago. If that’s not reason enough to visit the coffee shop, stop by not only for the teas, coffees, fruit juices and drinking chocolates, but also for a variety of European specialties, including a number of sweet pastries as well as sandwiches and soups. Some of its other specialties include a handful of spaetzle (from chorizo to goat cheese) and crepes dishes.
Beverly Bakery & Coffee Roasters
10528 S. Western Ave.
Chicago, IL 60643
Not only does Beverly Bakery roast its own coffee, but it also offers one of the best breakfasts in town. Its full menu features oatmeal, pancakes, omelets, eggs and a number of other morning meals that go perfectly with the espressos, cappuccinos and other custom drinks. Beverly also makes custom cakes. But this delectable coffee shop and cafe is only open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., so be sure to head in early.
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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.