Andersonville Self Guided Food Tour
Andersonville was primarily home to Swedish immigrants but now, the neighborhood is known for it’s diversity with Swedish roots firmly grounded as the Swedish American Museum is a strong piece of the community. In this food tour, you’ll not only get a taste of authentic Swedish eats but also see how diverse it has become with the addition of Middle Eastern, Italian, and Belgian flavors of the neighborhood. Andersonville is has an evident sweet tooth, with cafes dedicated to service pies, ice creams and every kind of candy imaginable! And in the event you need a break from eating, check out the shops in the area, where you can find some great cookbooks and kitchen items to take home.
Be sure to check out our full list of self guided Chicago tours.
Stop #1 – City Olive (5644 N. Clark) Here, check out the variety of olive oils and balsamic vinegars available, all of which you can taste and pair together in various combinations. They carry the finest selection of olive oils from countries such as Italy, Spain, Greece, France, Portugal, Turkey, New Zealand, Australia, Argentina, Chile and the United States! In addition to the plethora of olive oils, they also carry a nice selection of vinegars, spices, mustards, tapenades and other gourmet items.
Stop #2 - Brown Elephant (5404 N. Clark) Take a walk south to build up your appetite and stop into the Brown Elephant. This is not your ordinary thrift shop where you can find some great deals on kitchen items, housewares and cookbooks! The revenue generated by donations and purchases at the Brown Elephant Shops help fund services for the more than 50% of Howard Brown Health Center clients who are under or uninsured… so with every purchase made, you’re helping the community too!
Stop #3 – First Slice Pie Café (5357 N. Ashland Ave) With your thrift store finds, we’ll take a slight detour off of North Clark Avenue and make our way just east onto North Ashland Avenue. First Slice Café is a community-supported, volunteer driven kitchen that cooks up healthy, tasty meals for Chicago's neediest citizens. Just as you were helping out the community at the Brown Elephant, you’re helping others too through a piece of pie! If available, definitely grab a piece of their most popular pies - French silk, chocolate peanut butter and sour cherry!
Stop #4 – Swedish Bakery (5348 N. Clark St) We’re making our back onto North Clark Street and hitting up The Swedish Bakery. The Swedish Bakery is famous for specializing in Swedish coffeecakes, cookies, sweetrolls, toast, petit fours and marzipan cakes. In Swedish cuisine, you can taste the use of unique ingredients in their baked goods such as cardamom, saffron, anise, fennel, orange peel and almond paste. Items at Swedish Bakery are never frozen or have any added preservatives, which means they are always made fresh and in house daily! They also offer a wide variety of Northern European and traditional American breakfast items, pastries, cookies and cakes for all occasions. Be sure to try one of their most popular items including the Andersonville coffeecake, cardamom coffeecake, Swedish and butter cookies as well as their fruit glazed cake or take some to go!
Stop #5 – Bar Ombra (5310 N. Clark) Ready for something savory? After the sugar rush of pies and pastries, enjoy the savory small plates at Bar Ombra. Often described as an Italian tapas bar, here you can get your fill of small plates that won’t break the bank! Our favorites include their polenta fries, spicy marinated olives, and salumi.
Stop #6 - George’s Ice Cream & Sweets (5306 N. Clark Street) If you can’t resist ice cream, then you must hist up George’s Ice Cream & Sweets. The ice cream served here comes from Madison, WI where their specific ice cream is high in butterfat. This means it’s a super-premium ice cream and that butterfat adds texture and creaminess in every scoop. You can easily taste the difference as they only use the finest ingredients; all natural mixes made only with rbGH-free cream from Wisconsin cows, pure cane sugar and natural stabilizers. Try their Fat Elvis or Zanzibar Chocolate ice cream… and they’re even better in their Pretzel Waffle Cones!
Stop #7 – Andersonville Galleria (5247 N. Clark) After the recent stops at Brown Elephant and First Slice Café, it’s easy to see how the Andersonville really loves to support their community. Another place this is evident is at the Andersonville Galleria. Here, in the heart of the thriving Andersonville retail corridor, is a retail market building that currently features over 90 tenants offering apparel, jewelry, artwork, home furnishings, giftware, accessories, antiques, fair trade, and gourmet treats. Like no other neighborhood, Andersonville supports small retailers. Its mission is to maintain a unique shopping experience that cannot be duplicated anywhere. Andersonville prides itself on its dedicated support of locally owned businesses and small independent retailers who are respected and successful. Some foodie finds here include Grown Up Kid Stuff, Salted Caramel, Terry’s Toffee, and The Bleu Olive!
Stop #8 – Svea (5236 N. Clark St) So, we mentioned how Andersonville has a strong Swedish influence… and what would this foodie tour be without a taste of Swedish meatballs and pancakes with lingonberry sauce?! The place to find it is at Svea. A cute and cozy restaurant, Svea can get extremely packed for breakfasts and are only open until 2pm. So if you miss them on your tour, be sure to come visit Andersonville and stop in for breakfast! Just note – they don’t accept plastic and are cash only.
Stop #9 – Candyality (5225 N. Clark) If you love candy, you will love this next stop! This is one place that carries thousands of bulk items and sweet treats including gummies, sours, taffy, and more. Need M & M’s in 21 colors? They have that! How about your favorite flavor of Jelly Belly’s? They carry over 30 flavors! Licorice? They have created Chicago’s first licorice bar offering a selection from many corners of the world. Want to step back in time? Their retro candy will no doubt make you feel like a kid again! Or want to feel cool? They carry the newest and of course sweetest novelty products on the market! Feel a need to really indulge? Try their delicious carefully selected gourmet chocolates and Chicago Celebrity Truffles. Trust us, they got all your candy needs and wants covered!
Stop #10 – Middle East Bakery & Grocery (1512 W. Foster Ave) While on the tour, you may have seen a few Middle Eastern Restaurants (Andies, Reza’s, etc). We passed those to lead you to this place on Foster Ave – Middle East Bakery & Grocery. Here, you can sample Middle Eastern spices with freshly made hummus and pita. They offer your traditional pita as well as many other flavored ones. Don’t forget to check out their large selection of dips, spreads, and olives. Oh, and take a piece of their spinach pie to go!
Stop #11 – Hopleaf (5148 N. Clark) The Belgians have a place here in Andersonville and you can enjoy the offerings at Hopleaf. They have great beer but their mussels are their popular specialty. Their duck reuben along with their CB&J (cashew butter & fig jam sandwich) are our favorite sandwiches, but regardless, this is the spot for a nice cold beer.
Stop #12 – Wooden Spoon (5047 N. Clark) And our last stop is one more shop dedicated to helping you find your way around the kitchen. Both a cooking school and kitchenwares store, The Wooden Spoon will have everything you need to create a special dinner in your kitchen or even theirs! Offering classes and even private event space, the Wooden Spoon makes a great final stop to inspire you to create something delicious after experiencing what Andersonville has to offer!