Desserts date back to the 1600s in France, when the term was coined as a reference to “clearing the table”. Back then, a mountain of ice cream wasn’t available — puddings, pies, cheeses, dessert wines and liqueurs were served instead. Those are all still delicious options at high-end restaurants today, but over the years, confectioners have taken sweets to the next level and many of their creations seem too good to save for the end of a meal.
Who said dessert had to come last, anyway? I'm all for making sweets the focus of a meal. And doing so here in Chicago is a super fun way to explore the city, one pastry, ice-cream scoop or sugary confection at a time.
Here are some the must-not-miss (and Insta-worthy) dessert spots in Chicago.
This intimate space serving up rustic American fare with a side of Midwestern warmth is a great spot to pop into before or after a show. Grab a crafty cocktail and one of ETA's newest sweet treats.
Compressed Mint Watermelon | goat’s milk ice cream, toasted pistachio, pie crust cookie, watermelon gelee
The Compressed Mint Watermelon is a favorite of mine by far. It's absolutely delicious — light, fluffy and perfectly sweet.
Cassis Elderflower Entremet (Gluten Free) | flourless almond cake, white chocolate mousse, cassis sorbet, tarragon sabayon
The perfectly even layers of almond cake placed between perfectly spread white chocolate mousse and cassis sorbet in the Cassis Elderflower Entremet are also seriously good.
Chocolate Truffle Cake (Gluten Free) | fenugreek ice cream, espresso sauce, gf chocolate streusel
And, for the chocolate lover in us all, this Chocolate Truffle Cake is as delicious as it sounds, especially when paired with "The Wake-Up Cup" cocktail.
A true Chicago gem, Margie's feature a throw-back neon marquee sign and old-school decor. There are often lines out the door, and for good reason. Not only do they sell some of the best sweets in town, they are mainly known for their soda fountain and classic Ice Cream Sundaes. I won't describe their "Royal George"... a 25-scoop mega-bowl of ice cold, creamy confection... the photo will explain it all! But one word of advice: grab a few friends because this one may take a team to finish.
Photo Credit: cachetes_506
If you find yourself enjoying one of the many top-rated restaurants in the West Loop, I strongly suggest that you head on over to Bombo Bar for a truly delicious, entertaining and colorful dessert experience. Not only are their desserts seriously Insta-worthy, but the colorful art on the exterior walls and inviting decor inside make this place a one-stop shop for any photo-op. What I love about their desserts is that they are interactive... just squeeze!
Photo Credit: teharhynn
Here are some more of my favorite sweet-shops to check out on your next visit to Chicago:
- Firecakes: Home to the original ice cream doughnut! Yes, you read that right — where two of the best things in the dessert world collide for a truly gluttonous yet sweet experience.
- Garrett Popcorn: Now, this may not scream dessert, but I can't lie when I say that I've contemplated purchasing the 6.5-gallon tub of this popular Chicago snack and keeping it all to myself! Insider Tip: Wet Wipes are a must — #cheeseyoverload!
- Mindy's Hot Chocolate: Mindy's claim to fame all started when James Beard Award-winning pastry chef Mindy Segal and her absolutely perfect mix of sweet and savory treats landed on the scene. This is a beacon of the ultimate craft food, cocktails and sweet desserts.
- Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits: If there was only one place you could visit on your sweet journey through Chicago, I politely demand that you try Bang Bang Pies & Biscuits. This modest hipster-style shot is located in Logan Square, just three blocks from the California Blue Line Station. Opened as a simple pie shop, Bang Bang has expanded its menu to include homemade biscuits and breakfast sammies. I'm not ashamed to say that I've visited this place more than once in a day, and they have a beautiful outdoor patio to enjoy on a nice day.
Kelly joined the teams at Loews Chicago and Loews Chicago O’Hare in September 2016. A long-time hospitality professional, Kelly is a Chicago native and is thrilled to share her passion for her hometown with guests via this blog and the hotels' social media channels.