More Than Just a Bakery
With so many bakeries popping up in Chicago, it makes it difficult to choose. There is one in Lincoln Park that stands out, offering more than just baked goods - Floriole Cafe & Bakery. Floriole began as a stand at Chicago’s Green City Market, selling their rustic French pastries in a 10-by-10 tent. Owners Sandra and Mathieu Holl always dreamed of opening their own brick-and-mortar space and realized that dream in April 2010. Recently celebrating the bakery’s second anniversary, Floriole has come a long way from their start at Green City, making their mark along the Webster corridor.
A Little History
Floriole is co-owned by husband and wife Mathieu and Sandra Holl. While Sandra spends time in the kitchen, Mathieu focuses on the business side. Sandra attended culinary school in San Francisco at California Culinary Academy and worked as a baker at the well-renowned Tartine Bakery. Mathieu, born and raised in Paris, grew up with an appreciation for food and pastries. Although Mathieu is not a trained chef (in fact, he is a self-admitted computer geek), he has an amazing palate and ability to critique even the most perfect pastry. As Sandra says, “He makes me a better baker, even if it makes me crazy sometimes”.
Standards That Set Apart From the Rest
I have been a fervent fan of Sandra’s baked goods since 2007. Her fruit scones and tea cakes were a treat at the end of a farmers market shopping trip. When she announced the opening of a storefront bakery, I was ecstatic to say the least. So, what makes Floriole stand out from the rest? It starts with Sandra and Mathieu. They set quality standards that translate through to the staff and reflective in the product. Not only that, but the beautiful and spacious interior is flooded with natural light, creating a perfect environment to work (I call it my second office), sit with a book over a cup of coffee, or catch up with friends.
Floriole commits to using the best ingredients available. Most of their produce, meats, dairy, and cheese are sourced from sustainable farms in the region. They use organic flour and sugar, Valrhona chocolate, European-style butter, and cage-free eggs. As a result, you have flaky croissants, flavorful quiches, decadent brownies, delicious pizzettas, and moist scones. Even the hot chocolate and mocha is made with their house chocolate, topped with a homemade marshmallow!
In addition to their products, Floriole hosts monthly dinners featuring guest chefs and showcasing seasonal produce. I have attended a couple of the dinners, featuring Amber Wojcinski of Las Manas Tamales and Rob and Allie Levitt of The Butcher and Larder. The collaborations give the customers a chance to enjoy a delicious sit-down dinner while learning about other local chefs. It is also an opportunity for the chefs to let their creativity shine by creating a unique menu.
Worth Every Penny
Often I am asked why I spend so much time at Floriole. It all boils down to the quality of service and product. The staff greets me by name when I walk in the door and the barista will start to make my drink before I even place the order. Knowing that every product is made with care and from scratch, it makes every bite worth it.