“It seems like most people walking out the door have a smile on their face, and that’s really all I want. A feel-good experience.”
Tami Mizrahi, Co-Owner of Goddess and the Baker
With seven locations all across the city, it seems that most people have heard of The Goddess. Starting off as a catering company and morphing into an empire, The Goddess Restaurant Group now includes four Goddess and the Grocer locations in addition to three locations of the spin-off concept known as Goddess and the Baker. So The Goddess is kind of a big deal.
“I think there’s always an excitement about it. I think people are happy to come in and treat themselves, get a coffee, get a sweet, get a sandwich or salad and have it be good…But also not take ourselves so seriously. Just trying to have fun with it,” says Tami.
Muffins, cookies, almond croissants, and the signature multilayered rainbow cake fill out the front case while the menu overhead boasts an array of sandwiches, salads, soups, coffees. Wine, beer, and cocktails round out this somewhat amazing selection of foods and beverages. Everything is baked and prepared by Goddess bakers, and local artisans like Metric Coffee make appearances as well. They offer regular drip coffee, but also Chemex and V60 brews that require a little more patience and attention. It’s just one example of the elevated approach that Goddess and the Baker takes in serving downtown Chicago.
“We make everything by hand. We have a relationship with most of our roasters. We just care a lot, put a lot into our recipes, and as busy as we are and as hectic as it is, we never try to do shortcuts on the coffee drinks to get them out faster or quicker or cheaper,” says Tami.
Sitting at the prime corner location at Wacker and La Salle in the late afternoon, the kitchen seems to be running at full speed, and a host of cashiers and baristas zip smoothly via lateral choreography behind the bar. It’s apparently a lull, but Goddess’s lull still consists of a pretty steady flow of customers. Some people camp out with computers at the broad counter window seats, others are grabbing coffee to go. Several pairs and groups just hang out on the patio after a mid-afternoon snack or late lunch.
“Instead of the dichotomy of restaurant or café, I wanted that thing in the middle. Just a nice place to grab a bite to eat and meet a friend.”
Goddess and the Baker brings forth a cafe culture of craft and friendliness. It’s a space designed for the feel-goods, ingredients that fulfill that promise, and a staff that provides it. It’s pretty much guaranteed that something will strike your fancy immediately when you walk in, but in case you can’t make up your mind, we recommend starting out with the coffee.