The rest of the world is slowly catching on to what we already knew: Chicago is a destination for all things culinary and delicious. But look a little closer and you will realize something else—some of the city’s most buzz-worthy restaurants are run by women. Ahead, four of our favorite female-fronted eateries that are serving up tasty meals with a side of inspiration.
Photo courtesy of Baker Miller
Baker Miller Bakery & Millhouse
Located in the restaurant-rich neighborhood of Lincoln Square, Baker Miller is part stone-mill bakery, part elevated comfort food restaurant. Owned by Megan Miller and her husband Dave Miller, Baker Miller has developed a loyal following in just a few short months. The menu features a selection of both sweet and savory dishes, like Strawberry Lemon Chiffon pie and Biscuits and Gravy. The couple has recently launched Baker Miller Flour & Grain, Chicago’s first artisan flour company, and the bakery items on the menu are made with flour milled in house. They already are famous in the neighborhood for their Sourdough Cinnamon Roll, giving us yet one more reason to linger over a coffee catch-up. Baker Miller, 4610 North Western Avenue, 312-208-5639.
Photo Courtesy of Bread and Wine
Bread & Wine
We admit it—sometimes when we say we want to go out to eat, what we really mean is that we want to drink wine and frame the food part of the program accordingly. Bread & Wine totally gets us. Lisa Fosler Kelly and Jennifer Wisniewski opened Bread & Wine as a neighborhood American Bistro that is easily one of those places to tuck into on your way home after a long day. The menu is thoughtfully conceived and is a combination of small plates (Herb Fries with Malt Aioli) and heartier meals (Barbeque Pork Cheek with Smoked Ramp Coleslaw). Try the charcuterie and cheese platter with one of Bread & Wine’s private-label wines the next time you want to just celebrate the fact that it’s Tuesday. Bread & Wine, 3732-34 West Irving Park Road, 773-866-5266.
Photo Courtesy of Sweet Maple Cafe
Sweet Maple Café
The thing that we love most about Sweet Maple Café is its origin story: In 1999, owner Laurene Hynson wanted an outlet for her creativity that would not interfere with her responsibilities as a mother. When the opportunity to rent a restaurant space presented itself, she found what she had been looking for. A breakfast spot that would close at 2:00 p.m. was the answer, and Sweet Maple was born. The restaurant now also serves lunch, but it is the breakfast menu that is the main attraction, with an impressive selection of omelets (we love the name of one of them, “Sweet Maple-Opolis”), pancakes, French toast, and more. This is the kind of breakfast that you dream about making on a lazy Sunday, but do yourself a favor and head to Taylor Street instead. Sweet Maple Café, 1339 West Taylor Street, 312-243-8908.
Photo Courtesy of Vermillion
A hundred times yes to the idea of an Indian-Latin American fusion. Owned by Rohini Dey, Vermillion is one of the more creative of the city’s restaurant concepts. With its super-chic (and vermillion) interior, this is not a place to dine en route to a movie or a show. Make a reservation, keep it, and settle in for the evening. The dinner menu is divided into a clever mix of Tapas (Cilantro Tamarind Paneer), Street Food (Empanadas with Tandoori Sour Cream), Signature Entrées, and Heat. Vermillion also has a drink program that features Latin “herb and spice” cocktails as well as Indian beer. Vermillion, 10 West Hubbard Street, 312-527-4060.