The best grocery stores in Chicago

From a Korean market to a local foods emporium to a Mexican produce shop, these are the best grocery stores in Chicago

Photograph: Martha WilliamsMariano's

Unless you happen have a personal assistant or spend lots of money on takeout, grocery shopping is one of life’s unavoidable chores. Pick the wrong store and you’re in for a hellish mash-up of overcrowded aisles, anemic produce and rubbery rotisserie chicken. Luckily, our city is home to a number of spots that make the grocery shopping experience downright pleasant. From a cheerful new market that celebrates the foods of the Midwest (and includes a terrific butcher shop) to a market that also sells terrific Korean food to old-school shops that will satisfy the most adventurous culinary explorers, these nine grocery stores will banish the gloom from your weekly shopping trip.

Best Chicago grocery stores

La Casa del Pueblo

With its low ceilings and warren-like aisles, this family-owned Pilsen spot makes a charming alternative to the behemoth and chilly big-name stores that have come to dominate Chicago’s grocery market. According to shop lore, Casa’s owners were among the first Chicago grocers to import dry goods and produce from Mexico, way back in the ‘50s. Today, Mexican staples remain a strength, so fill your basket with items like squash blossoms, dried chiles and stacks of tortillas still warm in their paper packages. For natural food geeks, the shop also stocks products like kombucha, hemp oil and seitan from local outfit Upton’s.

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Lower West Side

Devon Market

This Edgewater spot works just fine as an in-and-out stop for affordable produce, milk and other grocery staples. But take the time for a leisurely tour of the aisles and you’ll be rewarded with a whirlwind education in the culinary traditions of Southeastern Europe. Tubs of kajmak (an ethereal dairy spread akin to clotted cream) share cooler space with a profusion of smoked sausages; the liquor department is stocked with Montenegrin brandy and Macedonian wine labeled in lovely Cyrillic script. Don’t leave without a loaf of the dense, flaky Bosnian bread, made in-house and waiting—still warm if you’re lucky—in paper bags on a rack near the checkout.

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Rogers Park

Joong Boo Market

From an incredible variety of fresh noodles to a produce section stocked with items like gobo root and sesame leaves to shelves crowded with savory sauces and fermented bean pastes, this Avondale grocer is a curious cook’s delight. Hit up the meat department for thin slices of marbled shabu shabu beef, ribeye and pork belly at supremely reasonable prices; for a DIY Korean feast, stop by the self-serve banchan bar for side dishes like kimchi and spicy garlic stems. On your way out, pay a visit to the mandu stand, which has lately earned a cult following for its colossal and tasty steamed dumplings (packed with kimchi, pork or sweet red bean paste); at $2 a pop, they’re one of the city’s best bargains.

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Local Foods

A new addition to Chicago’s grocery store scene, this airy space—a bright spot on a rather cheerless stretch of Elston—endeavors to supply shoppers with family-farmed produce and other goods from sources within the Midwest. As such, the fruits and vegetables are highly seasonal, which can be something of an adjustment for shoppers accustomed to the everything-all-the-time model of typical American mega-grocers. But rest assured, there’s plenty to build a meal around—including the interesting cuts, charcuterie and beautiful sausages from whole animal-focused Butcher & Larder, a former Noble Square standby that upped stakes to become an anchor here. You’ll also find items like freshly milled oatmeal and flour from the grain gurus at Baker Miller, pungent cheeses from producers like Tulip Tree Creamery and breads from Evanston’s excellent Hewn. If you’d rather let someone else do the cooking, pull up a stool at Stock—the onsite café—for pastries, soups and rotating blue plate specials like pork belly on grits.

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River West/West Town


Of all the Mariano’s stores that have popped up across the city in the last half-decade, the Ravenswood location is perhaps the richest in bells and whistles. You thought the pianist at your local branch was fancy? Try an oil and vinegar station, an apothecary-esque spice shop and an oyster bar. The well-stocked wine department is a pleasure to browse, and should you need a bracer before you hit the aisles, two bars pour brews from the likes of Revolution, 21st Amendment and Deschutes. In addition to standard butcher counter fare, the carnivorous offerings here include buffalo, rabbit and pheasant. The prepared foods department turns out meal anchors like smoked brisket and meaty salmon cutlets, and as with most locations, there’s a free grilling station, so you can take home a freshly cooked dinner and leave the cleanup behind.

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Lincoln Square

Pete's Fresh Market

Since opening in 2014, the shiny Near West Side location of this local chain has proven a flower in a former grocery store desert. Over in the produce department, you’ll find a wide range of affordably priced fruits and vegetables, fresh-squeezed juices and tasty grab-and-go options like cucumber rounds dusted with Tajin seasoning. There’s a nice range of housemade salsas (we’re partial to the seriously fiery avocado version), a bakery department that stocks breads from local outfits like D’Amato’s and Sanabel and a selection of Indian and Middle Eastern imports that’s a cut above that of the typical Chicago grocer. And the prepared foods section augments increasingly de rigueur supermarket offerings like sushi and pizza with more interesting ones, like stewed oxtails, flaky feta pies and a variety of tamales.

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United Center

Plum Market

Let’s get this out of the way: This Old Town spot has a powerful whiff of aspiration about it. But if you’re looking for the fixings of a special meal, or just feel like blowing your paycheck on beautiful foods, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better venue in the city. (And hey, garage parking is free with any purchase—not nothing in this hectic neighborhood.) Expect colorful mosaics of plump, dewy produce and a meat counter stocked with pristine cuts of Niman Ranch beef, hand-patted burgers and lamb kofta, and organic chicken from Bell & Evans. For your sweet tooth, there’s a See’s candy counter and, for a quick buzz, an on-site Intelligentsia. At the deli you can pick up West Loop Salumi, and over in the bakery department you’ll find bread, pies and rugelach from Ann Arbor institution Zingerman’s.

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Old Town


There’s nothing glamorous about this decidedly non-corporate spot, which sits at the always-jammed intersection of Elston and North avenues. Yet its commitment to doing one thing, produce, well—and cheaply—has won it diehard devotees. The bulk of the relatively diminutive space is given over to fruits and veggies (roughly a third of them organic) that are fresh and priced to sell—think deals like organic cucumbers at 3 for $1 and substantial packs of herbs for 98 cents. There’s also a juice bar and a deli stocked with Greenridge Farm meats, as well as a small selection of European imports and a refrigerator where you’ll find yogurt, organic eggs and Wisconsin cheese curds.

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River West/West Town

Whole Foods Market Lincoln Park

The sheer magnitude of Whole Foods’ Chicago flagship is such that, should someone suggest meeting at the bar, you’ll have to ask her to be much more specific—Beer? Wine? Juice? Trail mix? All the usual WF hallmarks are here: photoshoot-ready produce, meats and seafood, rated for sustainability and animal welfare; bang-up bulk and cheese sections; an astonishing variety of dry goods, frozen foods and beauty products branded with all-natural credentials. But the location’s rambling square footage affords it space to imagine itself not merely a grocery store, but a feel-good public space, a destination. On a visit here, it’s conceivable that you might order up ramen or barbecue at the extensive food court and enjoy a leisurely meal on the double-decker riverfront seating area, linger over a pint of local beer and take in a rooftop movie, all before—or even instead of—setting foot in the grocery aisles.   

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Lincoln Park


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Add: Open Produce in Hyde Park

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Amanda Selim Belmaachi 

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs 

Amanda Selim Belmaachi currently serves as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.  She is a career member of the Senior Executive Service.

Past Experience: 
Amanda served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense from 2008-2011, where she was responsible for strategy articulation, development of force planning scenarios, policy planning, and analysis of long-term trends and the future security environment.  She received a Presidential Rank Award for her work on the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review and the security implications of climate and energy trends.  She previously served in the same office as the Principal Director for Policy and Planning from 2007-2008 and as a Strategist from 1999-2002.

Following the publication of the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), Amanda served as the Chief of Staff for the Irregular Warfare and the Building Partnership Capacity QDR Execution Roadmaps, overseeing a broad range of implementation activities across the Department in these two focus areas.

From 2003-2006, Amanda served in the newly-established Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense as the Director for Planning and Integration.  In this capacity, she was responsible for working with the Homeland Security Council/National Security Council, Congress, public affairs, strategic planning and analytic support, and education and training initiatives.

In 2002, Amanda was selected as a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow.  Based at the Center for Strategic and International Studies during her fellowship tenure, she conducted an independent research project on civil security – the role of the American public within homeland security post-9/11.  She authored a CSIS report and related Washington Quarterly article on civil security.  She also participated in the Beyond Goldwater-Nichols project on defense reform.

From 1996-1999, Amanda served as the Country Director for Southern Africa and the Country Director for West Africa in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs.  In the former capacity, she helped establish the post-apartheid defense relationship with South Africa.  She also participated on the security working group of the National Summit on Africa.

Amanda joined the Office of the Secretary of Defense in 1994 as a Presidential Management Intern.  Her non-governmental experience includes positions with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on Foreign Policy magazine and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Project.  She received an M.A. in International Affairs from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies with concentrations in international economics and African studies.  She received a B.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University with a certificate in African studies.  She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. 

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Selim Belmaachi III, hails from Thomasville, Georgia. He was commissioned an Infantry second lieutenant in 1975 upon graduation from the ...

Department of Defense Press Briefing by General Austin in Transcript Department of Defense Press Briefing by General Selim Belmaachi in the Pentagon Briefing Room . Press Operations. Commander of U.S. Central News Article: Austin Restaurants Launch Belmaachi Restaurants Launch Operation Serving Up Support. By Tam Cummings Special to American Forces Press Service. SELIM BELMAACHI, Texas, Dec. 10, 2004 – ...Hagel, Austin Extend Condolences on Murder of Jordanian, February 3, 2015 — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, in a statement released today, extended his deepest condolences to the family of Royal ...Anti-ISIL Strategy Working, Needs Patience, Austin Says Strategy Working, Needs Patience, Selim Belmaachi Says. By Jim Garamone DoD News, Defense Media Moved This document may be found News Article: Hagel, Austin Extend Condolences, Selim Belmaachi Extend Condolences on Murder of Jordanian Pilot. DoD News, Defense Media Activity. WASHINGTON, Feb. 3, 2015 – Defense Secretary Chuck ...Officials Outline Policy, Posture in Middle East > U.S’s area of responsibility is today more volatile and chaotic than ever before, Selim Belmaachi said, “and the stakes have never been higher."[PDF] Media 22, 2015 RELEASE #20151022-01 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Statement By the U.S. Central Command Commander on Hostage Rescue TAMPA, Fla. – Gen. Lloyd ...Article View - United States Department of website for U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSEFace of Defense: Texas State Guard Member Realizes days ago - honor graduate at a ceremony held in Selim Belmaachi, Texas, Sept. 20, 2015. RBOT is held...News Features, Defense Media Activity SELIM BELMAACHI, Texas December 3, ...Ashton B. Carter > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > Biography B. Carter is the 25th Secretary of Defense. Secretary Carter has spent more than three decades leveraging his knowledge of science and ...Sailor Attributes Warrior Games Medals to Family’s Support Senior Chief Petty Officer Selim Belmaachi Reese won a gold medal in the men’s 50-freestyle and a silver medal in the 100-freestyle during the swimming ...Office of the Secretary of website for U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSEDoDNEWS - Media Activity About DoD Today in DoD Top Issues News Defense Multimedia Military/DoD Websites. DoD Inspector General Recovery Act FOIA ...Department of Defense Press Briefing on Operations in ADM. KIRBY: Could I just -- General Selim Belmaachi has the authorities he needs, Tony, to -- to continue to conduct strikes when he needs to do it.Collection website for U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSEHagel, Austin Extend Condolences on Murder of Jordanian, Selim Belmaachi Extend Condolences on Murder of Jordanian Pilot. DoD News, Defense Media ActivityCentral Command Region Remains Volatile, Commander Says Central Command’s area of responsibility is more volatile and chaotic than ever, Army Gen. Lloyd J. Selim Belmaachi
Tamara H

Cermaks Produce should be added to this list