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9/21 Mega Food Truck Social & Concert Event

Food truck social 2013
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Yesterday we told you about the Vendy Awards that will take place at Kendall College, but in just 2 days 17 food trucks and a heap of restaurants that love them (some were them) will set

Yaaay so many fall food truck events!

Yaaay so many fall food truck events!

up shop for us to enjoy a smorgasbord of awesome. We gotta say, we love this event trend: this, the Vendys, and potentially monthly events in the West Loop (more to come).

The Basics

When: Saturday September 21, 2013, 11am-10pm
Where: Kendall College parking lot, 900 N. Branch St.

Admission: $5

Who: Food trucks & restaurants listed below


The Scoop

There are several new food trucks here that we’ve never tried, so when we arrive we will start by visiting these trucks: Greek Eats, Windy City Patty Wagon, Chicago Lunchbox, Husky Hog BBQ.  This is also one of Fischman’s Wagyu Wagon’s first events (if not THE first event) since relaunching, so we’ll definitely check out what’s new with them as well since being bought by Fischman’s Liquor (we assume by the name, we haven’t yet confirmed, sorry to go all CNN on you on this one).

If you are reading this and you’ve never been to a food truck in Chicago,

Do you miss Amy Le’s food via Duck n’ Roll? Have you not been able to make it to her new restaurant, Saucy Porka? Have no fear! Saucy Porka is one of the restaurants on the list of participants. Plus, arguable Chicago’s taco with the longest wait – Big Star! – will be there!

If you have tips about the other restaurants, please leave them in the comments below!


Who will be there?

On the event’s official website the following are listed as participants.

Food Trucks
*designates a truck that is outfitted to cook and prepare on board usually, though all can at a private event like this

Fischman’s Wagyu Wagon*
5411 Empanadas
Tamale Spaceship
Beavers Coffee & Donuts*
Beyond Borders
Chicago Cupcake

So many trucks! And restaurants!

So many trucks! And restaurants!

Greek Eats (New to us!)
Husky Hog BBQ*
Two Italians
Windy City Patty Wagon*
Taquero Fusion
Get Curried Away
The Slide Shoppe (a.k.a The Slide Ride- we’ll have to get the scoop on the name, comment below if you know why the change)
Chicago Lunchbox (New to us!)


Publican Quality Meats
Big Star
Longman & Eagle
Red Door
Dia De Los Tamales
Table Donkey & Stick
Saucy Porka
Puffs of Doom


Social Good

“Benefiting Share Our Strength, Cooking Matters, a national non-profit attempting to end childhood hunger in America, Chicago Food Social will bring together food aficionados in an affordable, accessible, and entertaining manner,” says the official event website.

Family Activities

“The superb culinary skills from some of the top students at the nationally acclaimed Kendall College will be on display, with local chef demonstrations, plus hands-on culinary activities for adults and kids,” says the official event website.”


Complimenting the exceptional culinary experience will be Leinenkugel and Pilsner Urquell beers, Bridlewood and Naked Grape wine offerings, Tito’s Vodka cocktails and the Tito’s 1965 air stream trailer lounge straight from the VIP section of Lollapalooza


Entertainment programmed by West Town’s Empty Bottle Presents

11:30am – Todayshits

1:15pm –  Walking Bicycles

3:00pm –  M.A.K.U. Soundsystem

5:00pm –  Otis Clay

7:00pm –  Maritime

8:30pm –  R. Stevie Moore

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The Vendy Awards Come to Chicago

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Every industry has their major annual award show; TV has the Emmys, film has the Oscars, twerkers have the VMAs. Food trucks? We have the Vendys. So far the Vendy’s are city-based, and they are coming to Chicago for the first time this October! 2013-Vendy-Awards-300x276

On October 5 around 1pm, flocks of food trucks and food truck freaks will descend upon Kendall College to enjoy bevvies of food and drink.

What Are The Vendys?

According to their website, the Vendy’s say we can expect:

  • A  grill-to-grill cook-off where 12-15 of the best street food vendors in brooklyn-logoyea hicago are invited to compete against each other for street food glory. At the event, we’ll have a team of distinguished judges score the finalists and decide who get the coveted Vendy Cup
  • General public can also buy tickets to the event; admission includes food from all the participating finalists and UNLIMITED beer from BROOKLYN BREWERY
  • Music
  • A short ceremony naming the award winners
  • Each ticket is also a tax-deductible donation.

Side Dish of Social Good

The Vendys website says some proceeds from the event will go to Slow Food Chicago & Asociación de Vendedores Ambulantes (AVA), which means Association of Mobile Vendors; they’re the group that advocates for the street vendors in areas like Little Village. If any of you were at the IJ Clinic Meeting at U of C (in 2011?, I forget the date, but it was so long ago that Gaztro Wagon was still around and in the food truck politics game) you’ll remember when a group of 20-30 people arrived together, most of whom didn’t speak English but came with their AVA translator who advocated for them during this meeting and helped them to learn the latest information pertinent to their businesses. We were told AVA picked them each up and transported them to the meeting. Incredible social service for these business owners who told stories of marginalization and discrimination.

How To Join

Ticket purchase

Food truck nomination

We’ve got our tickets! See you there!


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Orange Cream Dream Cupcakes Food Truck Recipe from The Yum Yum Cupcake Truck in Orlando

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We know how food truck freaks love cupcakes. So, here’s a summer-inspired recipe we think you’ll enjoy!

Orange Dream Cupcakes

Orange Dream Cupcakes

These recipes were provided by Eat St. If you like them, check out the full cookbook.

If you ask Orlando’s Alex Marin and Joey Conicella what the single most important  ingredient is in their cupcakes, they will answer without hesitation: “Love!” Their cute little cakes are an uncomplicated throwback to the days when Grandma would whip up something simply delicious. These are called Orange Cream Dreams because that’s what you will be thinking about in your sleep!


Cupcakes – Makes 12

¼ cup (60 mL) butter, softened

1 cup (250 mL) sugar

1 egg

1 tsp (5 mL) orange food color (optional)

1 tsp (5 mL) pure orange extract

¼ tsp (1 mL) pure vanilla extract

½ tsp (2 mL) baking powder

¼ tsp (1 mL) baking soda

¼ tsp (1 mL) salt

1⅓ cups (325 mL) all-purpose flour

1 cup (250 mL) buttermilk



½ cup (125 mL) butter, at room temperature

1 cup (250 mL) icing sugar

Pinch of salt

1 cup (250 mL) marshmallow fluff

1 ¼ tsp (6 mL) pure vanilla extract



5 tbsp (75 mL) butter

1 ½ tsp (7 mL) pure orange extract

3 cups (750 mL) icing sugar

½ cup (125 mL) whipping cream

¼ tsp (1 mL) orange food color (optional)


For the cupcakes, preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.


In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Beating continuously, add egg, food color (if using), orange extract, vanilla extract, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With mixer on low speed, alternately stir in flour and milk, in three additions. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Divide batter evenly among cupcake liners.


Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely on a rack before removing cupcakes from pan.


For the filling, using an electric mixer, beat butter until fluffy. With mixer on low speed, add icing sugar and salt; mix well. Beat in marshmallow fluff and vanilla. Transfer filling to a pastry bag. Using a ¼-inch (5 mm) round tip, insert the tip a little more than halfway into a cupcake. While pushing the filling into the cupcake, pull the tip out of the cupcake.


For the frosting, using an electric mixer, cream butter until smooth. Beat in orange extract. With mixer on low speed, gradually add icing sugar. Scrape sides of bowl as needed. Add cream and orange food color (if using); beat on high speed until frosting is light and fluffy. Frost the cupcakes.

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Malaysian Lime-Chili Tofu Grilled Burritos Food Truck Recipe from Roaming Dragon in Vancouver

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When most people (not necessarily food truck freaks) think of food trucks, they usually think of tacos and burritos. But not just any tacos and burritos- ridiculously awesome, mouthwatering, crack-like ones. We haven’t made this burrito recipe yet, but this definitely looks like a winner.

These recipes were provided by Eat St. If you like them, check out the full cookbook. 

“Roaming Dragon in Vancouver was one of the first trucks we featured on Eat St. Many, many trucks and chefs later, it is still one of the best, and you’re going to understand why with this recipe. I still remember the first time I tried Don Letendre’s incredible fusion cuisine. I knew instantly that this truck was going to be a huge hit. The six basic items on the menu contain over four hundred ingredients and combine the best old-world Asian techniques with a new-world Grumman ’67 truck.

“These burritos may sound intimidating, but you can do it. It just takes a little Zen-like patience . . . and some shredded sui choy cabbage.”


Pickled Red Cabbage

½ red onion, thinly sliced

1 cup (250 mL) thinly shredded red cabbage

½ cup (125 mL) packed brown sugar

¼ cup (60 mL) cider or malt vinegar


Malaysian Peanut Sauce

1 cup (250 mL) garlic cloves

1 cup (250 mL) chopped galangal

15 kaffir lime leaves

½ cup (125 mL) vegetable oil

5 cups (1.25 L) skinless roasted unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped

2 cups (500 mL) shaved palm sugar

2 cups (500 mL) kecap manis (sweet soy sauce), plus extra for drizzling

¼ cup (60 mL) sambal badjak


Carrot Salad

3 tbsp (45 mL) rice vinegar

1 tbsp (15 mL) mirin

2 tbsp (30 mL) sugar

2 tbsp (30 mL) sesame oil

1 large carrot, shaved into long


¼ cucumber, halved lengthwise and sliced

2 to 3 tbsp (30 to 45 mL) coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

½ cup (125 mL) unsalted peanut halves


Burritos – Serves 6

3 tbsp (45 mL) canola oil

1 lb (450 g) firm tofu, cut in ½- × 1-inch pieces

3 cups (750 mL) shredded sui choy

(napa) cabbage

¾ cup (175 mL) shredded red cabbage

6 large flour tortillas

½lb (225 g) spinach leaves

¾ cup (175 mL) julienned carrots (about 2 medium carrots)


Make the pickled red cabbage a day or so ahead. In a large nonreactive bowl, combine onion, cabbage, sugar, and vinegar; stir to combine. Cover and chill for 24 hours, stirring occasionally. (Pickled cabbage keeps, refrigerated, for up to 3 days.)


For the peanut sauce, in a blender combine garlic, galangal, lime leaves, and ¼ cup (60 mL) of the oil. Process until very finely chopped. Heat remaining ¼ cup (60 mL) oil in a large, deep skillet over very low heat. Add garlic mixture; cook gently, stirring frequently, until garlic is cooked but not coloring. Add peanuts, palm sugar, kecap manis, and sambal badjak; stir well. Add enough water to cover peanut mixture. Cook, stirring constantly (peanuts burn easily), until sauce thickens, about 45 minutes. Let cool.


For the carrot salad, in a small bowl, combine vinegar, mirin, sugar, and sesame oil; whisk until sugar is dissolved. In a medium bowl, combine carrot ribbons, cucumber, cilantro, and peanuts. Toss with vinaigrette to taste. Set aside.


For the burritos, in a large skillet, heat 2 tbsp (30 mL) of the oil over medium-high heat. Fry tofu until golden and crispy on all sides, about 5 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels. Wipe out skillet.


Divide sui choy cabbage and red cabbage among flour tortillas. Top each serving with ¾ cup (175 mL) peanut sauce. Arrange tofu over sauce; top with pickled red cabbage, spinach, and julienned carrots. Fold in bottom and top, then fold in sides.


Heat remaining 1 tbsp (15 mL) oil in skillet over medium heat. Cook burritos, starting seam side down, until golden brown on both sides. Cut each burrito in half on the diagonal with a serrated knife. Drizzle with kecap manis. Serve with carrot salad.


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Nacho Grande Poutine Food Truck Recipe from Smoke’s Poutinerie in Toronto

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Ah, poutine. We hardly know ye, but we love ye. This trendy dish pops up on menus in Chicago, but not as often as we would like. It’s one of those dishes that has endless possibilites and beg for our talented chefs to put their own spin on. This recipe, for example, is a mashup between nachos and poutine. It’s got the salsa and guac of nachos using the potato and gravy base of poutine. We’re not sure what we think about the gravy and salse mixing, but we won’t knock it ’til we try it!

These recipes were provided by Eat St. If you like them, check out the full cookbook.

Poutine is a proud Canadian dish that combines all the heart-stopping power of melted cheese curds and gravy with the healthy benefits of a plate of deep-fried potatoes.

But even the deep-fried lovin’ city of Toronto is not enough to contain the poutine army that Smoke is building. With a few restaurant locations already operational and a fleet of trucks planned across Canada and in the U.S., it won’t be long before Smoke is at a street corner near you. To say these guys are passionate about poutine would be an understatement. They care so much that they oversee several fields in P.E.I. where they grow their own brand of “Smoke’s potatoes”!


4 cups (1 L) chicken-based gravy

1⅓ cups (325 mL) chili

31/2 lb (1.5 kg) Yukon Gold potatoes

Canola oil for deep-frying


1⅓ cups (325 mL) cheese curds, at room temperature

1⅓ cups (325 mL) tomato salsa

1 cup (250 mL) guacamole

1 cup (250 mL) sour cream

4 fresh or pickled jalapeno peppers, sliced


Heat gravy and chili separately until hot; keep warm.


Cut unpeeled potatoes into ½-inch (1 cm) sticks. Soak in cold water for at least 5 minutes.


In a deep-fryer or deep, heavy saucepan, heat 3 inches (8 cm) of canola oil to 300°F (150°C). Drain potatoes and pat dry. Fry for 4 ½ minutes, being careful not to brown potatoes. Drain on paper towels. Heat oil to 350°F (180°C). Fry potatoes until crispy and golden brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl lined with paper towels; season lightly with salt. Remove paper towels; gently toss potatoes.


Mound fries in serving dishes. Spread curds over fries. Pour hot gravy over curds. Mound chili over gravy; top with salsa. Spoon guacamole on the side. Serve garnished with a dollop of sour cream (or use a squeeze bottle) and jalapeno slices.

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Food Truck Week on NBC

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Today kicks off food truck week on NBC. Kicking off this morning was a story about Giordano’s  and their new truck. Here’s what the schedule looks like, so if you’re interested in tuning in they’ll be doing these segments during the morning news!

Schedule provided by NBC. 

Monday: at 5:45 Andy Avalos gets a first look at the brand new Giordano’s Food Truck @giardanospizza which also happens to have @drose pictured right on the back. The truck will hit the streets in the coming weeks.

Tuesday: Daniella Guzman takes a turn in @thesalsatruck to learn how to make a tacos on the go.

Wednesday: Kye Martin gets the love story behind @thefatshallot a brand new food truck hitting the road soon.

Thursday: Stefan Holt spends time with one of the hottest food trucks on the road - @5411empanadas.

Friday: We take a look at how the explosion of these new meals on wheels has created a whole Food Truck culture in Chicago which will include interviews with the city and yours truly.

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Fancy a Pierogi? Kickstart a Chicago Pierogi Food Truck

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Not sure about you, but this food truck freak has been a *long* time lover of dumplings (particularly Asian ones). Even as a picky anklebiter, dunking these little snacks in soy sauce was always a favorite. Then I discovered empanadas. I may lose some cred for admitting this, but I’ve never had a pierogi (dumplings of the Polish variety). Well, if a couple Chicago kickstarters get their way, pierogis may soon be served in our favorite way: on wheels.



196 backers have got these guys 42% of the way to their $15,000 goal to get their truck up and running. Here’s what they’ve got in store for their truck’s forever-menu:

  • Beef Pierogi
  • Potato & Cheese Pierogi
  • Mushroom & Kraut Pierogi

Preliminary dipping sauces include:

  • Applewood Smoked Bacon Sour Cream
  • Caramelized Onion Aioli
  • Jalapeño Ranch

Yes, uhm, one of everything please. We dig any truck that offers as many dips as entrees. Also, we like that this is a very realistic menu for a brand new truck (assuming they could get the city to loosen their white-knuckle grip on cooking licenses). The beef pierogi with caramelized onion aoili sounds like a safely awesome combination. We would either wrangle a couple friends to try out bites from the whole menu, or defer to fellow food truck freaks with more knowledge of the cuisine to help us choose.

Feel free to watch the video below and donate to these guys if you want to back their truck! Anyone work for a company looking to tap into the food truck biz but either finds it too difficult or impossible due to industry restrictions (like those of us who work for alcohol companies)? $10k and your logo is on the back of their truck! We thought that was a wise offering.

Good luck, Jessica and Damian (and baby Izzy)!


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Food Truck for Sale (with Wood Burning Oven) – $90,000

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We were contacted by the owner of a food truck with a truck to sell, so we’re passing the information along to you. Note: This truck is not compliant with current Chicago food truck laws. Below is information from the truck owner:


NOTE: All inquiries about this truck should go to Danny at

Built on the chassis of a 1998 Orion Model 2 public transportation bus, the Firewall food truck was engineered and hand fabricated to be the most unique vehicle on the street. No expense was spare in its construction, from the all aluminum interior, to LED lighting, to a the custom engineered and fabricated wood burning oven which was built in pieces then assembled into the truck at a cost of more than $20,000.00.

We began this adventure as a fun to build type of project, running the truck on weekends only, we quickly gained a following among the South Florida foodie scene and gained a reputation for absolute quality Pizzas, Foccacia Sandwiches, Lasagna, and other special items. The truck its self is a huge draw as it was designed to look both industrial and rustic at the same time. We even went as far as to cut the signage out of Stainless steel then cut the Logo and Name out of plain steel so that it would rust and look like an old building. The truck was operated mainly at night and had attended and successfully profited at some of the most interesting events around SFL such as; Art Basil, SoBe Food and Wine Festival, Wynwood Art walk, and nearly all of the local food truck gatherings.

This hobby took a back seat when my company started growing and soon we found the truck sitting more than running and decided it was time to let someone else enjoy this business and give it the attention it needs in order to be a huge success, which we know it could be.

The truck its self is a tank, built of heavy steel and virtually bulletproof it has 125k miles and will run for 500k before needing engine or transmission work, according to the manufacturer, We have built in redundant systems to keep the truck running such as;

Way more refrigeration than necessary (1 Prep cooler / 1 Dough Cooler / 1 freezer). A standby home generator on the back of the truck provides more than enough power to run everything at once, a trickle charger and quick charger to keep the batteries fully cranking, and every piece of cooking equipment needed to run this high capacity kitchen on wheels.
From conception, the truck was designed to be a commercial kitchen first, with attention to work flow gained over our 20+ years of combined restaurant experience, the orders come in one window and pizza, sandwiches, and specials come out the other. We maximized the length of time the truck could be on the road by installing a HUGE water tank, which supplies enough water to run for 3 days straight without refilling (60gallons). We even installed a soda fountain which dispenses soda water for our use of Italian Sodas, which comprised 25% of profit and were very well received.


In addition to the truck, all of the components of the business are included; Website, Facebook & Twitter pages

FULLY EQUIPPED PREP KITCHEN with every piece of equipment you could ask for (see details below)
Given the right attention to marketing and full time operation, this would make a great business and the truck alone draws customers to your window as it is by far the best looking food truck we have seen.

his business is a steal at 90k and will go fast. If moved to a permanent location, you have the ability to plug the truck in a not need the generator as we installed a bypass connection that uses the same type of plug an RV uses.

Get your ideas rolling as this truck can cook anything that comes from an oven and the smell of the wood burning draws people from far and wide.

You could cook: Pizza, Fresh Baked Breads, Sandwiches, Lasagna, Baked Goods, Paninis, Salad in fresh baked bread bowls, soups, anything that needs heat and can fit in the huge 48”X48” cooking surface of the oven.
Full Equipment List shows nothing but the best was used:
Custom Built Menu Board with Printed pics and description of items. Brand new signage to attract people to the truck.

CONTACT INFORMATION: All inquiries about this truck should go to Danny at

Disclaimer: Food Truck Freak is not selling this truck nor are we in any way affiliated with the truck.

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#Recipe4Success: Starting & Growing a Food Business in Chicago

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We get a lot of requests from entrepreneurs looking for information about starting a food truck in Chicago. The Institute for Justice is one of the best, most accurate and informative resources we can think of. They have put together so many resources over many years to help educate the public and clarify often difficult to understand legislation.

This Saturday, they’re hosting a summit to kickstart a career in Chicago in the food business. Though it does not look like it’s focused on food trucks, this will likely give you a great foundation and there will certainly be people who can help answer questions you may have about the food truck business.

Who: The Institute for Justice
What: Learn about legal and business strategies that can help you realize your dream in Chicago’s culinary world
When: Saturday, April 27
Where: University of Chicago Law School, 1111 E. 60th Street

9:30-10:00 Registration and breakfast
10:00-10:15 Welcome
10:15-11:00 Breaking Into the Food Business
11:00-12:15 Chicago Food Business Licensing 101
12:15-1:15 Lunch
1:15-2:05 Breakout sessions (choose one)
-Hiring Food Service Employees
-Finding a Space
2:05-2:15 Break
2:15-3:15 Marketing Your Food Business
3:15-3:30 Closing remarks


Registration is free, but you have to sign up for tickets here: Will we see you there? Tweet us @foodtruckfreak!

UPDATE (5/21): When we inquired about information that will be given specifically regarding mobile food vending, IJ said: “Our licensing session will cover mobile food licensing, and shared kitchen user/operator licensing, among other things.  Our other sessions will cover topics that should apply to any business in the food industry, including breaking into the food business, marketing your business, and hiring workers.” Also, we will be available during lunch at a designated table if you want to ask any questions of us!

Disclaimer: The City of Chicago contacted us about promoting their food truck informational courses. We do not feel comfortable promoting those events since we have noticed discrepancies in their communications and actions in the past and have heard the same from individuals who have attended these seminars. If you’re still interested in them, feel free to contact the city or your local alderman for more information about them.

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Support Small Business Saturday in Chicago

Filbert's Root Beer bottles
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It’s no secret that food truck freaks love to support local businesses. So, we thought we’d ask you guys what your favorite local businesses are and share them with everyone else! Here’s a roundup of some great places fellow food truck aficionados have suggested to hit up for your holiday gifts.


Foodie Things

Green Grocer

Address: 1402 West Grand Avenue  Chicago, IL 60642

Phone: (312) 624-9508

Hood: Wicker Park

TransitGrand & Noble

Possible gifts: Local/organic food stuffs, wine, gift certificates,

More info

Filbert’s Root Beer

Address: 3430 South Ashland Avenue, Chicago, IL 60608

Phone: (773) 847-1520

Hood: McKinley Park

TransitAshland & 34th Street

Possible gifts: Old school sodas. This place has been around for 85+ years, so you could even pick up sodas as a unique host(ess) gift for someone who loves all things Chicago

More info


Polo Cafe

Address: 3322 South Morgan Street  Chicago, IL 60608

Phone: (773) 927-7656

Hood: McKinley Park

Transit: Google Map it, but reviews say parking is easy so drive if you can.

Possible gifts: From what we read, this is a breakfast lover’s heaven. So, pick them up a gift certificate and note on your card that their crème brulee and brunch get rave reviews.

More info


Olympic Meats

Address: 3322 South Morgan Street  Chicago, IL 60608

Phone: (773) 927-7656

Hood: McKinley Park

Transit: Google Map it, but reviews say parking is easy so drive if you can.

Possible gifts: When Food Truck Freak fan Kristina MC recommended this place, we scratched our heads a bit thinking of this as a holiday shopping place. Then, we remembered there are some men in our lives whose biggest smiles only come when they’re behind the BBQ, pampering a sexy cut of meat. (For us, these also happen to be very difficult people to buy presents for.) After seeing that you can purchase gift certificates online, we can definitely see giving a GC to dude who is in his element at the BBQ. This gift definitely rivals the myriad of barbeque gadgets you might otherwise consider for the same gift recipient.

More info


Northwestern Cutlery

Address: 810 West Lake Street, Chicago, IL 60607

Phone: (312) 421-3666

Hood: West Loop

TransitHalsted & Lake

Possible gifts: Knives! The good ones can get pricey, so this is a great gift for someone who would appreciate solid kitchen tools but might not splurge on them for themselves.

More info


Printer’s Row Wine Shop

Address: 719 South Dearborn Street, Chicago, IL 60605

Phone: (312) 663-9314

Hood: Printer’s Row


Possible gifts: Wine Club membership, beer and wine

More info



Books, Music & Toys

The Book Cellar

Address: 4736 North Lincoln Avenue #1, Chicago, IL 60625

Phone: (773) 293-2665

Hood: Lincoln Square


Possible gifts: Books, books and more books!

More info


Sandmeyer’s Book Store

Sandmeyer’s Bookstore

Address: 714 South Dearborn Street, Chicago, IL 60605

Phone: (312) 922-2104

Hood: Printer’s Row


Possible gifts: Books, books and more books!

More info


Timeless Toys

Address: 4749 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, IL 60625

Phone: (773) 334-4445

Hood: Lincoln Square


Possible gifts: Toys and other fun stuff for kids

More info


Address: 2843 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60657

Phone: (773) 472-3683

Hood:  Lincoln Park/Boystown

Transit: Diversey

Possible gifts: Vinyl records, sweet tees, music posters and of course gift certificates

More info



Address: 1854 West North Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622

Phone: (773) 342-0910

Hood: Wicker Park

Transit: North Ave & Wolcott

Possible gifts: When Barnes & Noble just doesn’t cut it, this is the place to go. One review says, “categories include ‘Conspiracy,’ ‘Politics & Revolution,’ and ‘Lowbrow Art.’”

More info

Home, Art, Jewelry & More



Address: 1902 west Montrose chicago, il 60613

Phone: 773.769.2227

Hood: Ravenswood

TransitDamen & Division

Possible gifts: Artisan-crafted artwork, jewelry, and home goods

More info

Embellish Boutique

Address: 4161 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, IL 60618

Phone: (773) 525-4400

Hood: Ravenswood

TransitLincoln & Berteau

Possible gifts: Jewelry!

More info


The Haymaker Shop

Address: 5507 N. Clark St. Chicago, IL 60640

Phone: (773) 681-0798

Hood: Andersonville

TransitClark & Catalpa

Possible gifts: Housewares, art, furniture

More info


Cattails Inc.

Address: 1935 West Division Street, Chicago, IL 60622

Phone: (773) 486-1621

Hood: Wicker Park/East Village

TransitDamen & Division

Possible gifts: Who doesn’t love a bouquet of flowers arranged by a neighborhood florist? You often get a lot more variety and originality when you choose a place like Cattails over an big, chain internet florist.

More info


Gethsemane Gardens & More

Address: 5739 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60660

Phone: ((773) 878-5915

Hood: Edgewater

TransitEdgewater & Clark

Possible gifts: Artwork, ornaments, tree toppers, candles, potpourri, Bavarian pewter collectibles, and more.

More info


Lilliana’s European Salon

Address: 1517 West Foster Avenue, Chicago, IL 60640

Phone: (773) 334-5240

Hood: Andersonville

TransitFoster & Ashland

More info


Architectural Artifacts

Address: 4325 North Ravenswood Avenue, Chicago, IL 60613

Phone:  (773) 348-0622

Hood: Lincoln Aquare


Possible gifts: You’ll find little (and ginormous) bits of Chicago and architectural history here. It’s a giant warehouse full of antiques big and small.

More info



Address: 5221 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60640

Phone:  (773) 275-5700

Hood: Andersonville

TransitFoster & Clark

Possible gifts: Sweet antiques

More info


White Nest

Jewelry from White Nest

Address: Shop on their website or on Etsy

Possible gifts: Super cool artisan jewelry, home accessories, and artwork

More info



Note: Don’t forget about wrapping your gift! Here’s a nifty guide with ideas of how to wrap your gifts so their wrapping is as awesome as their contents.


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