chicago French market

By the time my friend Michele mentioned the Chicago French Market to me last Friday, there’d already been a lot of buzz on it (plus more specific calls to us as individuals: an e-mail to me and a handed-out-on-the-street coupon to Michele) but neither of us had yet been to visit, so we declared 9 AM on Saturday morning the perfect time to do something about that.

Part of the MetraMarket at Ogilvie Train Station in the West Loop, this market dubs itself as a European-inspired marketplace, filled with products from local farmers and artisans—sort of a year-round indoor farmers’ market that’s easily accessible for commuters.

And while it turns out to be more like an upscale version of a shopping mall food court than an indoor version of a street in France (think fluorescent lighting and shiny grocery-store floors), it does have some notable features.

Like, for example, bakery:

bakery
pastries and sweets

Fresh produce:

apples
pineapples

(including some of the largest red peppers you’ve ever seen:)

red peppers

All-natural Amish chicken ($5.99/pound):

natural chicken

Prepared foods:

city market

And vendors like RAW, which sells all 100% organic raw vegan foods:

RAW

Chicago Organics, which features 100% certified organic produce, meats and dairy products:

chicago organics

and Pastoral, which Chicagoans may recognize from their Loop and Lakeview locations:

Pastoral
menu at Pastoral
cheese at Pastoral

The market is quiet on Saturday mornings, so we walked around and after one of us (ahem) took incessant photos (for you! it was all for you!), we ordered made-right-in-front-of-you all-natural whole wheat crepes from Flip:

flip crepes stand
flip stand

Like we did when we were in Colorado, we ordered two to split: a sweet (nutella/banana) and a savory (ham, cheese, bacon), $5.50 each:

nutella and banana
ham and cheese and bacon crepe

and also bought fresh-squeezed orange and freshly made carrot-apple juice, $3.50 each, from Juicy Orange.

juices

We ate under the Eiffel Tower, which was almost as magical as it sounds.

Eiffel Tower

And then headed home, full, happy and, at least, no longer curious.

(Have any of you been to the market? What were your thoughts?)

Chicago French Market
http://www.frenchmarketchicago.com/
131 North Clinton
Chicago, IL
Open Monday through Saturday | 312-575-0306

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 25 Comments

  1. Celeste

    You have a pic of my fav jam product on display.
    I am not much for sweets but I absolutely love a bakery display.
    I could however spend a little time in the cheese dept.
    Looks like a fun place to shop & nibble.

  2. Val

    I’ve been several times for lunch as it is only a couple of blocks from my work! I love the crepes and pastoral sandwiches. I also am so giddy over the new fritestand with Belgian fries and dipping sauces, since that has always been one of the things Chicago has been missing, and I always crave the ones I’ve had in New York and Amsterdam!

  3. Scott

    I went there shortly after it opened and it wasn’t fully completed. I could see it being great now that everything is finished in there (most restaurants weren’t operational when I visited). I think I’ll give it another shot!

  4. ToKissTheCook

    Just went for the first time recently. Really nice to have a butcher downtown- the City Market guy put veal and pork tenderloin through the grinder for my meatball recipe. Totally agree on the neon light though…I guess I was expecting more charm? And definitely more of a local, seasonal focus (pineapples are delicious but not either). That said, great representation on the pastry and cheese front. On a daily basis, I suppose that’s as French as most people need.

  5. Vicki

    If only it were located at my train station, I could see myself lingering there before the commute home. Once the weather warms up, I’ll definitely make the trip over there one night after work.

  6. Shannalee

    Lauren, It’s definitely fun to stop by if you’re in the area!

    Ashley, Ha! I know, right? And the jam!

    Whitney, Yeah, I def felt that way. But if you were looking for lunch and in the area, go.

    Celeste, I know, right? Those croissants looked amazing.

    Allison, That sounds like so much fun!

    Sheila, Absolutely!

    Val, The frites did look good – and I’ve heard all good things about Pastoral, so maybe next time I’ll try one of their sandwiches.

    Caitlin, Yeah, and they make them right in front of you, too, which is cool.

    Scott, I’d love to hear what you think after a second visit!

    Kim, Seems like most fun things involve food, doesn’t it?

    ToKissTheCook, You hit it on the head – I expected more charm. And yes! about the lack of seasonal focus through most of the vendors; I forgot to mention that. Even Pastoral’s cheese are largely imported… but there was a Wisconsin dairy represented at another booth – just a little pricey for me.

    Vicki, Yeah, def wait until the weather warms up. I’d love to hear what you think!

  7. Nastassia(LetMeEatCake)

    While I’m sure this place has nothing on the streets of France, it looks lovely! From the gorgeous produce to the mouth-watering pastries I wish I lived near by to visit, but I am on the other side of the country. I want one of those Linzer cookies right now =)

  8. Shannalee

    Nastassia, Those cookies did look good, didn’t they? And you’re right – this place was nice to visit.

    Michele! I forgot about your bread! Which vendor was it from? Necessity Baking?

  9. Rachanee

    Hi Shanna.
    Todd and I went grand opening weekend-shopping mall food court sums it up. We were pretty disappointed-it’s only redeeming quality for us was Pastoral, but we’ll stick to their Lakeview location.

  10. Shannalee

    Rachanee, My thoughts exactly – and do you guys get to Pastoral often? That’s pretty close to Adam!

    bodelou, haha don’t expect too much magic, but it’s fun if you’re in the area.

  11. Rachanee

    Yes, in the summer it’s one of our most favorite places to grab and go. Their Panino Di Prosciutto and a bottle of San Pellegrino are perfect starters for an afternoon picnic. Along the same lines and very much worth mentioning (if you haven’t been their yet)is Fox & Obel in Streeterville. Let me know what you think.

  12. Shannalee

    Rachanee, That’s fantastic! I asked Adam about Fox & Obel and he said he’s heard good things, so we’ll def check it out soon. PS he also wanted to know if you’ve tried Goddess & Grocer? He’s a big fan.

  13. Rachanee

    Hello Again. I have not even heard of Goddess & Grocer, but I will check it out and very soon. Thanks for the suggestion. Here’s another one for you. It’s called Southport Grocery and Cafe. We went there for the cupcakes (which in my personal opinion are better than Molly’s and Swirlz, we tried all three on the same day for comparison purposes) but we were very much delighted with the cafe as well and new that we had to come back with friends next time.

  14. Shannalee

    Cool, thanks, Rachanee! My heart still belongs to Swirlz but only for the frosting and to be fair I haven’t tried Southport’s cupcakes yet. I passed the info to Adam and he said he’ll go soon. Thanks so much!

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