It’s taken a minute (or over 2 years), but I found my favorite coffee shop in the city. In Chicago, it’s sad that chain coffee shops are more available than the independent retailers. When I need a cup of Joe in the morning, Dunkin Donuts is always closest to the train station, except at the Sheridan Redline stop, where Emerald City is attached to the train station and serves vegan pastries and your solid mocha.
I have sadly sipped and ditched too many overpriced coffees and specialty drinks in the city to get to this point. Just on Friday, I was at Stan’s, Donuts and Coffee which is amazing, especially the one near Northwestern downtown. Anywho, the barista made—I want to say was a chai tea latte. It took extra long to make and it was extra terrible. It didn’t even make it into the Uber with me. The Nutella banana doughnut, however, was on point.
There are a lot of cute and cozy spots, and hidden gems throughout the city such as The Coffee Studio in Andersonville (get something caramel there—so good). I will soon try Peet’s since they bought Intelligentsia.
Finding a place that has good light food and good coffee is not easy. For a restaurant, Yard House at New City in Lincoln Park has amazing coffee because they serve Lavazza. To me, nothing beats Lavazza coffee.
The winner for best coffee shop in Chicago is known for it’s rainbow cake. Goddess and The Baker (33 S Wabash Ave) is casual, convenient, and good, all of the things that make it the best coffee shop in Chicago.
Criteria for a Good Coffee Shop:
I am going to pause and define the ambiance and vibe that I was looking for in a coffee shop. If you are looking for an outlet, this is not the spot for you. See my Starbucks’ in Chicago guide for the freelancer.
Builds Community: This might be hipster, oh wait they are the ones with a laptop at every coffee shop, but I like that people gather and socialize at a coffee shop. It feels very much like a genuine meeting place over a bottle of wine or a piece of rainbow cake. Conversation at a coffee shop? Yes, please!
Health. What I like a lot about Goddess and The Baker is that they serve healthy food. Why does coffee always go with a doughnut or pastry? The latte already takes a toll on my caloric intake. It’s nice to pair a latte with a salad or even guacamole and chips.
The food is really good. Both the small bites, the sandwiches, and the pastries. They serve dessert all day. The cake is moist and delicious from the vibrant colors to the light and sweet icing.
The drinks are really good. I appreciate their attention and selection of details. Pretty much, Goddess and The Baker only puts quality food and drinks on the menu. The coffee is served pour-over and drip.
Deals/Rewards: They have a happy hour for beverages and half of appetizers. There is also a loyalty program.
Variety: They serve non-alcoholic drinks and tea and coffee. It’s not so much about the variety, but it’s nice.
Location: Goddess and The Baker is close to public transportation and activities. It is a few blocks from State Street shopping to the west, and Millennium Park to the east.
For a limited time, Goddess and The Baker has the Bourbon Praline Latte.
Food for Aphrodite:
Known as “a good food experience,” Goddess and The Baker offers small bites and made-to-order sandwiches.
This weekend, I tried the Garden Goddess Wrap, one of the vegan options on the menu. I do eat meat, but sometimes I enjoy a vegetable-based meal. It was filled with red beets, carrots, avocado, and cucumbers. It’s complete with hummus on the sides and a light touch of Goddess dressing.
Then, my friend and I also split a half-priced appetizer, the Double Dip with Kale Salad. The platter was massive.
There were artisanal bread and pita bread to dip in a cup or hummus or guacamole. Then, there was fresh kale salad lightly sprinkled with Goddess dressing. On the side were carrot sticks and celery sticks and two halves of red beets.
Best Time to Go:
During lunch hour throughout the week, the most popular day is Monday starting at 11 am.
Later on in the week, on Wednesday and Thursday, it is more popular to go after 4 pm.
I love that when you do a Google search for restaurants, they provide a chart with the flow of traffic so you can know the popular times to go to restaurants and coffee shops.
Monday – Friday: 7 AM – 8 PM
Saturday and Sunday: 8 AM – 8 PM*
The Goddess Behind The Baker:
The Goddess brand was first introduced to Chicago in 2004 under the Goddess and The Grocer name by owner, Debra Sharpe. Since then, Sharpe expanded the line into Goddess and The Baker with two locations this year.
Her food and drinks have been served through a standalone grocery store, a coffee shop moment, and even catering for musicians like Jay-Z, according to Sharpe’s bio.
Runner Up Favorite Coffee Shop:
If you are going to a coffee shop for a meeting or to get work done, there is one coffee shop that is amazing.
It is further west. This space has mismatched chairs, lots of tables, real food and good coffee. The staff is helpful and sweet.
The runner-up for favorite coffee shop in Chicago is Filter Café (1373 N Milwaukee).
*The article was changed on Nov 25, 2015 to correct the times of business. Goddess and The Baker is open on Saturdays.