The Run Down
We're getting out of the house and taking a quick Sunday trip to a warehouse in Avondale where inside we'll find all the essentials like homemade tamales, fresh baked pies, and a smorgasbord of items from a local French chef. Before we do that, hot coffee awaits from a local coffee roaster next door. Here are the details.
1. Metropolis Coffee Roasterie
On a quiet 3 block stretch in Avondale there’s a small industrial corridor that hugs right against the Chicago river. It’s been slowly transforming over the past few years and at the center of it is Rockwell on the River, a massive river front complex with offices, it’s own marina, and home to Metropolis Coffee Roasterie.
We start here to pick up a morning coffee.
A lot of this block is still under construction, so you might be confused when Google Maps tells you that you’ve arrived. Don’t worry, you’re in the right place. From the street you’ll see the signs through this passageway that will take you to the complex’s main entrance.
The main entrance takes you to a long hallway where Metropolis has a coffee kiosk set up. Nothing fancy about the set up. A $3 cup of coffee made from beans roasted in their roasting facility just a few yards away.
If you’re down to talk coffee, there’s a wealth of collective coffee knowledge from folks behind the kiosk who also work in the main roasting operation. We also stumbled upon a plant vendor that set up shop here too. We came for coffee and left with a cactus. That’s a win. Some final things to keep in mind as you plan your outing.
– They’re only set up on Sundays in conjunction with the farmer’s market that operates next door.
– This is a relatively new and we heard that there may be more vendors setting up inside this main building in the future.
– At the end of this same hallway is another place you might want to check out, Metropolitan Brewing. This is where their taproom and craft beer brewing facilities are located. While the indoor taproom is closed, they have a patio that overlooks the river that is still open when the weather is cooperating. It wasn’t part of the plans for this guide, but if a beer is in the cards for you, then head on down.
2. Logan Square Farmers Market
After grabbing a coffee and a cactus, head next door to the warehouse that the Logan Square Farmers Market is calling home this winter (which is technically in Avondale).
There are actually two separate warehouses where you’ll find vendors. There’s a group of vendors in the white building pictured above, and there’s a second group in the brick warehouse to the right. Here are some logistics tips to keep in mind.
– It’s open from 9am – 3pm every Sunday (first hour is reserved for shoppers at high-risk)
– Line starts outside with a one-way route taking you through the market
– Masks and social distancing guidelines strictly enforced
This is the main hall from the first warehouse. This is around 11am to give you a feel for the crowd at the time. Plenty of space to walk around and keep at a distance.In one of the side rooms that connects to the main space, you’ll find the legendary Chef Didier — a staple of the French cooking scene in Chicago since he arrived here from Paris in 1986. He’s got coolers full of classic French dishes including his specialty foie gras and duck terrine. Fine dining from a warehouse
Speaking of foie gras, you may also want to thank him because he can be credited in helping overturn Chicago’s foie gras ban in 2008.
You may recognize Tamales Express from visiting farmers markets all across Chicago. They’re family-owned and specialize in traditional, handmade Mexican-style tamales and other street foods. Not to be hyperbolic, but these might be the best tamales in all of Chicago.
Another staple of the farmers market scene in Chicago is Jacobson Family Farms. This is the same farm that supplies produce to restaurants like Avec, Publican, and Kimski if you need any more indicators of quality. They’re a small scale farming outfit located about an hour outside of Chicago, and they practice regenerative farming which works to restore soil biodiversity and ultimately create better tasting and more nutritious products. A win for your taste buds and a win for the environment.
This is a wide shot from the second warehouse. Plenty of space to spread out.
Sip of Hope is a name many of you may already recognize. President Obama gave them a shout out in a tweet, a TV show is being made based on their coffee shop concept, or you might have visited their coffee shop in Logan Square.
For those who don’t know the backstory, Hope For The Day, a non-profit focused on proactive suicide prevention, started Sip of Hope Coffee in 2018 with 100% of the proceeds going to support Hope For The Day’s mission. That’s founder Jonny Boucher pictured above. He’s dedicated the past decade to raising awareness around suicide and mental health issues and he’s out here at the market on Sundays keeping the movement going.
The diversity of food and products that you’ll find at this market is what makes coming here so great. We got to know Melinda who along with her daughter run Peking Order, a Filipino food catering service. She’s at the market on Sundays serving all your Filipino favorites like pork adobo bowls, pancit noodles, and homemade soups.
But what caught our eyes were the empanadas. They come with your choice of filling (chicken adobo, Filipino style pork bbq) and its encased in a buttery and flaky pastry dough with a vinegar-y chimichurri sauce on the side to balance everything off. Get this and be happy.
Leaving you with one final picture of our haul from the market if you still need any convincing.