Share the flavors, sights and sounds of India with your children on Chicago’s Devon Avenue (Devon Avenue, west of Western Avenue ). This seven block track of the city is brimming with Indian-American boutiques, restaurants, cafes, bakeries and bookstores. You’ll feel transported to India without having to bother with boarding a flight at O’Hare.
2536 W. Devon Ave.
Open daily, 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.; 5 p.m.-10 p.m.
Indian cuisine is characterized by its use of a wide variety of spices and huge assortment of cooking techniques and dishes, with rice, whole wheat flour and beans serving as staples. Since vegetarianism is widespread in India, you’ll always find a number of delicious veggie-based dishes. Children and adults will find their own delectable favorites. Tiffin is our restaurant of choice: For starters, try Samosas, deep fried, savory pastries filled with potatoes and peas, and Vegetable Pakoras, mildly spiced veggie fritters. As a main course, try the renowned Tandoori Chicken: succulent pieces of chicken marinated in yogurt and mild spices and cooked in the tandoor or clay fire-oven. My kids won’t leave Tiffin without a Mango Lassi: a sweet drink of pureed mangos mixed with fresh, creamy yogurt. For dessert, enjoy some Kulfi, Indian ice cream in fruity tropical flavors. Be sure to check out the rear of the restaurant where kids can watch the chef prepare Naan in the traditional tandoor fire-oven.
2610 W. Devon Ave.
Open daily, 8:30 a.m.–9 p.m.
Whenever I travel, I always like to pop into a grocery store to see how the locals live. I wouldn’t dream of visiting Devon Avenue without a stop at Patel Brothers, one of the areas more popular grocery stores. You’ll find a myriad of Indian treats: ripe mangos sold by the case, a variety of teas, bags of traditional spices and more. Let your children help you with the grocery shopping here, and encourage them to select an out-of-the-ordinary breakfast cereal or cookie/snack bar.
2614 W. Devon Ave.
Hours: Mon. – Sun.: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Bangles are one of the most popular jewelry items in India. Here at Sahiba Boutique, you find gazillions of bangles in every color of the rainbow and beyond. You’ll find diamond studded bangles, glittery pink bangles, silver bangles. Best of all they’re inexpensive: Let you child go wild and crazy stocking up on bangles to her heart’s content without busting your wallet.
2535 W. Devon Ave.
Hours: Mon–Sun 11 a.m.–8 p.m.
Uma Sarees carries some of the most beautiful garments in the city of Chicago: their children’s clothing selection features elegant and casual India-inspired wear, with a focus on sarees. You can even find fancy traditional duds for your baby here.
2308 West Devon Avenue
Open Weekdays 10 a.m.–10 p.m.
Weekends 9 a.m.–10 p.m.
A trip to Devon Avenue wouldn’t be complete without a few sweets for the road. King Sweets is filled with colorful, sugary delights. Our fave pick is the carrot halwa, a cross between carrot cake and fudge. Fresh squeezed fruit juices are also available, as are crispy samosas.