If you want to support local restaurants through your holiday shopping, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve compiled a list of food-and-drink gift ideas (that your friends and family will actually want) from Chicago-based restaurants. These spots are offering things like gelato-of-the-month subscriptions, handmade mugs and teapots, and pastrami cufflinks that you didn’t know you needed, but absolutely do. We’ll keep updating this list with new items, so check back.
Happy gift-giving season, Chicago.
This cafe and wine shop in Ukrainian Village is one of our favorite places to get wine, cheese, and basically anything you’d file under “picnic provisions.” For the holiday season, they’re selling gift boxes that come with an assortment of cheese, cured meats, “crunchy fun stuff” (like almonds and snack mix), local honey, housemade crackers, cookies, and just all sorts of good things.
We need to do some more testing, but all the evidence indicates that Parachute’s bing bread is one of the most delicious things you can possibly eat. And they made a little stocking-stuffer-sized cookbook dedicated to recreating it. Give it to someone who likes to bake, then just order yours from the restaurant.
Wherewithall is currently closed, but the space is operating as the location for “Little Parachute,” where you can order carryout and specialty items from its sister restaurant, Parachute. They also have all sorts of fun items that make good holiday gifts - like cookbooks, aprons, and jars of housemade kimchi.
We can’t think of anything more delightful than pastrami sandwich cufflinks and a matzo ball soup keychain from Manny’s Deli. Except maybe actually eating the aforementioned soup and sandwich. But you can get both of those things (along with a lot of other cool stuff like bagel and lox cufflinks) from their gift shop.
OK, so this is actually a bunch of different spots working together. A selection of Chicago’s women-owned restaurateurs have collaborated on holiday gift baskets, which you can buy through Tock. Choose from three curated baskets: Culinary Chicago at Home, Holiday Sweets, Snacks & Sips ($125), or One of All ($250). They’re filled with items like olive oil granola from Floriole, tempura batter from Antique Taco, spring roll kits from Saigon Sisters, and cocktail stuff from Kumiko. See the full list here.
Since the start of the pandemic, this pizza shop/bakery/brewery has pivoted successfully into also being a fantastic market. And that’s where you can buy someone a four-pack of their beer, a loaf of some of the best bread in the city, house-cultured butter, and kombucha apple butter. Middle-Brow Bungalow is basically now Middle Earth’s pantry.
A perennial entry in our annual Best Ice Cream In Chicago guide, it’s no secret that we’re big fans of Black Dog Gelato. They have a pint of the month club, where you receive three pints of gelato in a cute pink box that also includes recipes and free samples. The three-month subscription is ideal for helping someone through the Chicago winter, and has flavor collaborations with local spots like Baker Miller and Portillo’s (don’t worry - it’s their chocolate cake, not the Italian beef)
Along with running some of our favorite restaurants (like Duck Duck Goat, Little Goat, and the new bakery Sugargoat), the “Goat” empire also has its own little online catalog called “Goat Goods.” That’s where you’ll find things like diner coffee mugs, glass sundae goblets, a whole bunch of sauces and condiments, and holiday gifts like ornaments. Yes, most are decorated with goats.
The Duck Inn in Bridgeport has a selection of shirts, sweatshirt, and blankets available for purchase. These, coincidentally, also come in handy if you’re eating outdoors on their enclosed patio.
This new cheese shop and cafe in Logan Square has a fantastic selection of cheeses (of course) and offers a variety of subscriptions where you can have different cheeses (and cheese facts) sent to you on a weekly or monthly basis. Or, of course, just order a charcuterie spread with a bottle of wine and give that as a gift. Either way, more cheese is a good thing.
Living Water is a cute tea house in Bridgeport that just opened this year. Besides tea drinks, they also sell loose leaf tea from China and Japan, as well as beautiful handmade pottery. While you’re there picking up your gifts, make sure to grab one of their pastries.
If you’ve ever eaten at Honey Butter Fried Chicken, there’s a 99.9% chance you’ve eaten one of their delicious honeycomb-shaped corn muffins. If not, you should. And this place’s gift shop sells the very same muffin pans that make that fun shape, along with their corn muffin mix, and things like hot sauce and coffee mugs.