Make way for Wells Street’s newest culinary juggernaut. Some new neighbors moved in on our block, and we couldn’t be happier about it. La Fournette, Chicago’s newest French bakery, is a welcome addition to our already food-centric Old Town neighborhood. The bakery is owned by Pierre Zimmerman, master pastry chef and two-time World Baking Cup champion of the French team in 1996 and 2008, and his family. They are fourth generation bakers, and our friends Jacquy Pfeiffer and Sebastien Canonne, of the French Pastry School, are serving as advisers in this delicious project. La Fournette opened its doors last Monday, following a weekend-long, pre-opening event that saw a lot of the shop’s signature goodies exchanged for some last-minute feedback on their many offerings. And, believe me, they are many.
Our Old Town crew was lucky enough to get an invitation to the event, where we were treated to complimentary sandwiches, pastries, breads, drink, and more. The folks at La Fournette couldn’t have been more gracious and accommodating as they encouraged us to sample as much as we pleased (as long as we provided some good feedback!). For most of us, that didn’t turn out to be a whole lot – their sandwiches are filling! I had a really nice ham and cheese sandwich on chewy French bread (the pickles were a nice touch), and I satisfied my sweet tooth with a pistachio macaroon and a slice of rich and sweet lemon pound cake. That, however, doesn’t speak to half of what our new neighbors had to offer. Among some of the other product that eventually popped up in our store, brought back by some hungry and inspired coworkers, were flaky almond and chocolate croissants, melt-in-your-mouth beignets, and some really gorgeous breads – from olive loaves to sourdoughs stamped with La Fournette’s signature “F” logo.
If anything about the day was a disappointment, it was that my appetite wouldn’t allow me to sample everything in the place that looked moderately delicious, which was everything in the place. I didn’t get a shot at their crepes. The croque monsieur looked incredible, and I have got to know more about their muffin-like, sweet and savory kouglof. I should also mention – and this is what will most likely make me a regular – that La Fournette does coffee and espresso, and they do it well. Stop by for a shot of espresso, a cup o’ joe, or a frothy latte. And if you are one who enjoys a good pastry with your caffeine, you’ll be in the right place. La Fournette has a streusel brioche with your name on it.
You can find La Fournette at 1547 N. Wells Street, just south of North Avenue. Give them a try the next time you’re in the neighborhood on a spice run or otherwise. I am pretty confident you’ll be happy you do.