Chicago & Beyond
Chocolate Inspirations | Chicago
After Pam Vieau attended a chocolate class from a local chocolatier in 1991, she fell in love with the world of chocolate and decided to make good use of her new chocolate-making skills by giving friends and family her homemade toffee as Christmas gifts. Her toffee proved to be such a hit among her friends, she got the idea to open Chocolate Inspirations a year later — and the rest is history. Now her repertoire has expanded beyond her highly-revered toffee to include artisan chocolate treats such as fudge, bark and more.
Scratch Goods | Chicago
Scratch Goods initially began on Etsy in 2011. Two high school friends, Maureen McClure and Elizabeth Leipold, created all-natural soap — which quickly began to take over each of their apartments. Over the past decade, the business has grown to include a full brick and mortar location and an expansive food-grade skincare line including masks, scrubs and lip butter. Everything is made from local ingredients like coffee beans from Dark Matter and beeswax from Bike A Bee beekeeper Jana Kinsman.
Funky Rooster Tattoo and Art Gallery | Elgin
Sarah Mooney and Jose Manuel (Manny) were both working at a restaurant where they discovered their mutual love and appreciation of art, which led to the creation of Funky Rooster Tattoo and Art Gallery. Both Sarah and Manny want to alleviate the anxiety of getting a tattoo or purchasing a painting and strive to create an empowering environment for their visitors.
Katherine Anne Confections | Chicago
Katherine Anne Duncan, owner of Katherine Anne Confections, was eight years old when she started making caramels in the kitchen of her family's Wisconsin farmhouse. Just two years later, she turned her hobby into a full-fledged small business, selling "Katherine's Karamels" at her dad’s office for 25 cents each. Now, visitors can enjoy homemade marshmallows, handmade caramels, or thick hot chocolate, all made with ingredients from local Illinois farms.
MASHALLAH | Chicago
Owner and designer Mashallah Ghouleh brings an eco-friendly twist to her handmade jewelry line, which she crafts inside her gorgeous boutique, MASHALLAH. The shop is operated like an art gallery, featuring expertly curated pieces that are works of art themselves — which is why Mashallah invites visitors to take their time and enjoy the experience.
Brewpoint Coffee | Elmhurst
Owners Melissa and Angel say they started Brewpoint Coffee all the wrong ways: only six months into dating, both unemployed, no business plan and minimal coffee experience. But just six years later, Brewpoint is buzzing with popular specialty lattes and three locations in Elmhurst!
Brown Sugar Bakery | Chicago
The James Beard award-nominated baker and owner of Brown Sugar Bakery, Stephanie Hart, says she truly fell in love with baking when she realized how really good desserts conjure up memories of childhood and the joy it brings people. You can find her signature caramel cake at the storefront in Chicago’s Chatham neighborhood or at Navy Pier.
The Milk House | Pingree Grove
When owners Brook and Clint Carey were renovating the buildings on their farm, they got inspired by Brook’s love of ice cream and baking and Clint’s lifelong passion for local farms and produce. Thus, The Milk House was born, specializing in flavors that follow the seasons of Illinois, like bake sale lemon bar and cantaloupe ice creams.
Phoenix Bean and Jenny’s Tofu | Chicago
Jenny Yang, president of Phoenix Bean and Jenny’s Tofu, strongly believes in the power of knowing where your food comes from, which is why the soybeans used to create her tofu are grown just 45 minutes away, ensuring freshness. The best part is, this tofu is ready to use, which means no more wasting paper towels!
Higgins Glass | Riverside
In the early 1930s, Michael and Frances Higgins met at the Chicago Institute of Design, operated their own studio out of their Chicago apartment, and rediscovered and refined the ancient art of glass fusing — creating true works of art. Today, Louise Wimmer and her son Jonathan serve as the chosen successors to lead Higgins Glass, keeping their unique art alive at the small Riverside studio.
TAKARA | Chicago
What began as a small accessory line 40 years ago has expanded to a boutique which celebrates individual spirit by owner, designer, manufacturer, and namesake behind TAKARA, Takara. She says she started her own line because the trends don’t work for her age group, and she wants to help her peers feel good.
Ethereal Confections | Woodstock
Founded by college friends Mary Ervin and Sara Miller, who instantly bonded over their love of food, Ethereal Confections is Illinois’ first small batch bean to bar chocolatier. This means Mary and Sara source cocoa beans from across the world, sort them, roast them, then throw them into a machine that cracks the bean and pulls the shell off. From there, they grind the cocoa meat with sugar to create chocolate.
KOVAL Distillery | Chicago
Sonat and Robert Birnecker left their academic careers behind to found KOVAL in 2008, the first small-batch urban distillery to open in Chicago since Abraham Lincoln was President! KOVAL Distillery is most known for their bourbon and dry gin, and offers tours, tastings and classes.