Hours: 7 a.m.-7:30 p.m., Mon.-Fri.; 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday. Closed on Sunday. Vendor opening times vary, but all are open by 10 a.m.
The buzz continues to grow about the new Chicago French Market, located adjacent to the Ogilvie Transportation Center in Chicago between Canal and Clinton. This memorable and exciting European style market is home to a diverse collection of specialty food booths. Some vendors offer food to take home and prepare, while others offer freshly prepared gems to be enjoyed right at the market. The spacious dining area offers ample room for market goers to settle in and enjoy their treats. It’s a food lovers’ paradise so take a stroll and enjoy the adventure. If you become a regular, you’ll get to know the vendors and you’ll learn a lot about the foods. How nice to actually know your food seller!
Our suggestion: come to the market, pick up lunch, relax while you eat in the dining area, then take time to browse the aisles and pick out some fresh meat, fish or cheese, organic produce, prepared meats, fresh pasta, some wonderful bakery or chocolates to take home. If this becomes a routine, you’ll have a daily adventure that’s memorable and you’ll have some very happy family members.
When you’re inclined to do lunch at the market, here are some of the stops you should be sure to check out.
Chundy’s Bistro features Indian-fusion cuisine. There are hot meals, delicious soups, salads and sandwiches. Chundy’s offers Indian-fusion dishes, plus a variety of quality grab-and-go meals, salads, snacks and drinks. Menu highlights include cold sandwiches, meat and vegetarian Panini, soups such as green curry coconut, traditional Indian mulligatawny and lentil, salads, side dishes, a selection of chutneys and slaws and a collection of fruit and vegetable sweet breads, flatbreads, plus fresh fruit smoothies, milkshakes and iced fruit teas.
Buen Apetito is a family owned taqueria that specializes in traditional Mexican favorites with a modern flair and a focus on healthy, fresh and flavorful ingredients. The menu features grilled steak, chicken, salmon and vegetarian tacos and tostadas, plus burritos. All dishes are prepared with fresh herbs and distinctive spices. Appetizers include a hot or cold selection such as ceviche, pico de gallo or guacamole as well as tortilla soup, cebollitas or quesadillas. For the sweeter side, Buen Apetito offers Dona Marias signature flan cheesecake, rice pudding or tropical fruit medley.
FliP Crepes serves a delicious variety of savory and sweet crepes, prepared with a master’s touch using healthy ingredients such as wheat flour, buckwheat and wheat germ. FliP gets its name from its distinctive presentation: the crepes arrive on your plate in the shape of a burrito.
Saigon Sisters is an authentic Vietnamese eatery such as one would find in the bustling markets of Vietnam. This popular stop offers a more modern environment but is operated under the same principle: offer fresh delicious food and products sourced from local suppliers. Choose from the delicious Pho (noodle and broth dishes), spring rolls, herb noodle salads, and Banh mi (sandwiches). The ingredients focus on healthful, flavorful and aromatic herbs, spices, vegetables, seasoned meats and seafood from locally sourced farmers and purveyors.
RAW is the very popular stop at the Chicago French Market for raw foods. The raw food diet continues to grow in popularity, in part due to the fact that it is delicious and very satisfying. The food items are made from 100% organic raw vegan ingredients and the delicious foods taste as fresh as can be. Choices include sandwiches, salads, pizza, pastas, muffins and granola. smoothies, desserts, drinks and snack items, all made on-site.
Bowl Square serves healthy, traditional Korean fare. Korean food is also growing in popularity and here you’ll find approachable Korean food in nicely-sized portions. The menu focuses largely on simplified versions of popular Korean food with an emphasis on fresh ingredients and fast service.
Pastoral is a European-inspired, authentic neighborhood cheese shop, offering fine artisan cheeses, small production wines and freshly baked breads along with a full complement of related items such as charcuterie, olives, tapenades, honeys, jams, olive oils and artisan sweets. For lunch check out the prepared gourmet sandwiches, salads and side dishes.
Fumare Meats: You won’t find any more passionate or knowledgeable people about cured and smoked meats than these folks. Working with the finest purveyors, Fumare offers traditionally cured and smoked meats from local producers, including prosciutto, hams, smoked sausages, and bacons. You’ll find a nice selection of prepared sandwiches and side dishes. Make sure to try the old-fashioned Montreal-style smoked meat, cured and naturally smoked, peppered and slow-cooked to a well-marbled tenderness.
Frietkoten: If you love fries, you’ll have to stop here to enjoy Amsterdam’s traditional ‘fry shack’ experience: hand cut Belgian fries served in a paper cone. They’re crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, the way fries should be. Keeping with the Amsterdam tradition, there are nearly 20 different dipping sauces to choose from every day.
Espression by Lavazza raises the bar for coffee stops with a wide range of creative espresso beverages made with world-famous Lavazza coffee. This Italian company has taken Chicago by storm and the Chicago French Market location is the perfect setting. You’ll also love the gelato. Better yet, get a scoop of gelato topped with a shot of espresso.
Juice Bar is the place to go to round out your meal with fresh, squeezed-to-order fruit and vegetable juices, plus homemade smoothies made with seasonal fruits. All juices are 100% juice, with zero added sugar or concentrates.
DineWise is a weekly dining feature exploring the Chicago restaurant scene appearing in StreetWise, a general interest magazine with a gritty "from the streets perspective" giving insight to its readers on what is really going on in Chicago. StreetWise.org is a social enterprise designed to help severely impoverished men and women out of poverty.
By using vendors as the distribution mechanism, we are able to personalize the face of poverty and create income for the vendor.
DineWise is written by Lee Barrie and Cindy Kurman Barrie. Lee serves on the board of StreetWise and together, Lee and Cindy run Kurman Communications, Inc., a leader in lifestyle public relations, media relations, promotions, events and social networking, based in Chicago and serving businesses and individuals throughout the U.S. The Barrie's can be reached at DineWise@Kurman.com or follow us on Twitter @DineWise