Chicago's Flavor: Andersonville

February 16, 2011 7:52:46 AM PST
With just a spin beyond Lake Shore Drive, it's a vibrant village where Nordic charm meets trend and kitsch.

Dine, buy and be in step with the flow from Scandinavian flavors past, to the Clark Street chic of now.

"The roots are Swedish and we see that with the Swedish-American Museum that has been here since the '20s," said Andersonville guide Rebeca Wheeler. "Today, since things have evolved, you still have the roots but you have an evolving mix of businesses that represent the gay and lesbian population here."

The first stop is an Andersonville mainstay, Swedish Bakery, where they have been on a roll with their European style pastries and cakes for more than 80 years. Marlies Stanton and her family took ownership of the bakery in 1971, but her roots have always been in the pastry world.

"My mother and father had a pastry shop in Germany," Stanton said.

She puts much effort and pride into every ounce of flour, sugar and almond paste that is poured into every bowl but says she is able to stay away from all the sweets.

There are lots of choices for children of all ages at Swedish Bakery.

A block north, at City Olive a wide-range of palettes can be satisfied. You can even get an olive oil tasting.

At Middle Eastern Bakery you'll be introduced to pies, which are considered a meal there and not a desert and where spices and fresh ingredients promote healthy living.

Seeking nourishment for the soul on a cloud-filled winter day, another bright spot in this neighborhood is just around the corner. Gethsemane Gardens has occupied its spot for fifteen years and lines a full block.

"We love people to come and visit," said Mario Porto, Gethsemane Gardens. "The pressure is off. Come in and read the paper, visit our birds and the koi in the fish pond. Just enjoy the atmosphere. It is a nice place to get away on the North Side of Chicago in the winter."

Featured in this article:

City Olive:

Swedish Bakery:

Middle Eastern Bakery and Grocery:

Gethsemane Gardens:

Tracy's tour guide was Rebecca Wheeler: