Tuesday, February 15, 2011



The women who work at Ideal Pastry are mean, but then again, kindness is overrated. Nobody needs a pleasant 'hello' when indulging in pastry consumption. Sometimes a look of derision is well deserved when you’ve just purchased a bag overflowing with chocolate bismarks, danish, and kolaches. The Polish women who man the counter at Ideal Pastry in Jefferson Park might not be the most welcome hostesses in the donut game, but they get the job done. They’ll tell you all about the special croissants, pastries and breads for sale at the bakery, but they will never love you.

A Jefferson Park staple for decades, people have been flocking to Ideal for donuts, bread and coffee cake for generations. On weekend mornings the place is filled with plump old men in high wasted pants and fedoras ordering coffee cake and turnovers. The place still does a brisk business from new clientele and a dedicated contingent of regulars. The bakery has switched ownership a few times, and the once traditional American bakery, now has a strong Polish flavor. The new owners expanded the store front on Milwaukee Ave. to accommodate a Polish style deli and ethnic food shop. While these offerings are enjoyable and eclectic, Ideal’s baked goods are still the real stars. The unassuming shop makes some of the best European style bread in Chicago, and people have been rumored to travel far and wide for a loaf of their Lithuanian rye bread. The bakery also makes traditional rye, pumpernickel, rustic wheat and multi grain breads, as well as excellent croissants. Those seeking sweeter fair will enjoy Ideal's bismarks, which have a slightly chewy raised dough, rich dark chocolate, and a custard filling that can only be described as 'inappropriate'. The bakers use only the highest quality ingredients, and the attention to detail comes through in their work. The fruit in the kolaches, donuts and danishes is slightly tart and never saccharine or gummy, and the pastries are just buttery enough to drive someone completely mad with desire. People interested in American style bakery products, or chipper, overtly enthusiastic customer service, might be a little out of luck in this north side establishment. But make no mistake about it, what this bakery lacks in a kind "howdy do", it makes up for with some of the best baked goods in Chicago.

So when you arrive at Ideal Pastry and get painfully dismissive glances and shouts of “next!” from the elegant Polish lady behind the counter, just remember - you have a paper bag filled with chocolate, custard, and powered sugar, and in a few seconds, your day is going to get awesome.

Ideal Pastry
Chicago, Illinois
4765 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago Illinois, 60630

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