Argo Bakery and North Shore Kosher Bakery
Unless you live there or grew up there, you have no reason to go to West Ridge, or as everyone from there calls it, West Rogers Park. The neighborhood is not convenient to anything, unless Lincolnwood is a thing. It’s not trendy, nor is it likely ever to have an infrastructure supportive of the development of a community of hipsters or artists. But what it does have is food, cheap and good. The corridor of Indian and Pakistani restaurants and stores that runs down Devon from Ridge to California is well established, but there remains very little evidence of the once-dominant Eastern European culture of the area. Except in the bread. North Shore Kosher Bakery has been around since the now long-forgotten past when Touhy Avenue used to have a vibrant retail district. Now, it is just about the last business between Sacramento and Francisco Avenues, and certainly the last of what used to be several kosher bakeries in the neighborhood. The assortment is classic Jewish carbs: bagels, onion rolls, rye bread (with or without caraway seeds but why, really, would you ever want it without?), challah loaves for Friday night, the start of Shabbat, and coffee cake. Simply the best damn coffee cake in Chicago, kosher or otherwise. Compared to North Shore, Argo is an upstart newcomer that has only been around since the late 1990s. Their selection is minimal; it’s more or less one bread in two different shapes, round or baguette-ish. But this simple bread, baked quickly against the walls of the traditional, dome-shaped Georgian oven, is pure carb heaven. Add feta cheese and olives and you have dinner. You can buy Argo’s bread at several ethnic grocery stores, but fresh out of the oven it might make you check out some ads for apartments on the Far North Side.
Argo Bakery, 2812 W. Devon, 773.764.6322; argobakery.com; North Shore Kosher Bakery, 2919 W. Touhy, 773.262.0600
Best of Chicago 2015