Loaf Lounge - Chicago
Loaf Lounge in Avondale is a counter-service and casual place, serving up outstanding sandwiches and baked goods. It's been getting a lot of local praise for its bakery items and sandwiches.
The Infatuation writes of Loaf Lounge that "based on their immaculately crafted English muffins and other housemade breads, it’s no surprise that they also make fantastic pastries. If you’ve never had a crush on a baked good, you will after trying anything here—whether it’s a flaky bear claw topped with almonds or a fruit danish filled with rhubarb jam, and... definitely order their delicious chocolate cake."
That chocolate cake is the same as the one featured in "The Bear," the Chicago-based chef-driven drama. Loaf Lounge is owned and operated by Chefs Ben Lustbader and Sarah Mispagel, who've previously worked for several of Chicago's fine-dining restaurants (Nightwood, Proxi, Giant and others). Mispagel was also a pastry consultant on "The Bear"; her chocolate cake is the real deal.
The sandwiches are fantastically simple, beautifully made, and delicious: California Veggie, for instance, is a fetching combination of avocado, cheddar, pea shoots, lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo and mustard on country sourdough; the Turkey sandwich is bacon, cheddar, pickled red onion and peppers, roasted garlic ranch dressing, all set gorgeously on a house-made seeded bread.
Louisa Chu of the Chicago Tribune waxes euphoric about one of her favorite dishes: "The veggie breakfast sandwich swaps the sausage with braised kale, flavored deeply with pickled mushrooms and spicy peppers. But it’s their stunning salmon breakfast sandwich that hints at past and future stories. I felt thoroughly underdressed for the open-faced canvas arranged extravagantly with cured curls and glistening roe. Lustbader soft-cures the salmon with brown and white sugar, fennel seeds, black peppercorns, Aleppo pepper, orange, lemon, dill, basil and gin."
There are many, many baked sweet and savory items, like the almond bear claw and the a ham and cheese croissant...and, of course, cookies and cakes.