A good banana bread is about more than just overripe bananas (and flour and butter). A great banana bread is moist and delicious on its own -- or with a quick spread of butter too, if you want. Some have added ingredients, like chocolate chips or walnuts. Others are simple but so perfectly executed that you can enjoy them as a breakfast treat, or a snack. Here are five places that know how to make a banana bread that manages to stand out, even among a range of other pastries and desserts.
Sweet Mandy B's
1208 W. Webster Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614
Cookies, cakes, cupcakes... Sweet Mandy B's in Lincoln Park has it all. But in the morning, it's all about the 'morning glories' essentials, and that includes one of the best banana breads in town. Since offerings rotate, if they don't have a loaf of banana bread, opt for the banana cupcake, which is even more decadent with the frosting. In the past, they've even offered a creamy banana bread pudding. No matter which you pick, you can't go wrong.
130 E. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60601
www.wildberrycafe.comWant a really rich and decadent banana bread? Then you'll want to step inside this Loop breakfast spot (which also has locations in Schaumburg and Libertyville). This is no traditional banana bread, rather, it's a banana bread french toast. Think of it as banana bread, but cooked in an eggy batter. The menu is jam-packed with a variety of traditional breakfast and brunch items, but it's this banana bread french toast that patrons come back for again and again.
2246 W. North Ave.
Chicago, IL 60647
The husband and wife team behind Bake, located in West Town, are all about classic American desserts. And other than apple pie, which they also serve, there's nothing more American and delicious than old-fashioned banana bread. Their banana nut bread is at once moist but chewy (in a good way), and while they say there are eight slices per each loaf, that's a healthy -- or should we say hefty -- slice. Each bite also tastes homemade, which is no surprise considering everything they serve is made daily. To make sure they have banana bread, be sure to call in advance. (Other breakfast breads on their menu include zucchini nut, chocolate chip orange and pumpkin spice).
Related: Chicago's Best French Toast
5348 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60640
This Andersonville bakery is a pastry and bread lover's dream. Whatever dessert or treat you're craving, chances are you'll find it here, from cupcakes to cheesecakes and everything in between. While the banana bread may not be as exotic or pretty as some of their other desserts (like their Swedish pastries), it's every bit as delicious. They call it a "plain" banana bread, but with just the right amount of bananas and sugars, it's flavor is anything but plain -- especially with the Streusel topping.
Baker & Nosh
1303 W. Wilson Ave.
Chicago, IL 60640
Cheese, charcuterie, and breads... that's the trifecta of delicious eats at this Uptown bakery. The banana bread isn't always available, so call ahead before you stop in, but when it is? You'll want a whole loaf to yourself. From the perfect crust to the moist inside -- sometimes with chocolate chips -- this is banana bread heaven. Looking for something else with banana? They also often offer banana muffins and banana chocolate coffee cake too.
Elizabeth SanFilippo is a freelance writer, who enjoys trying new foods from all over the world. But her favorite city for culinary treats will always be Chicago. When not blogging about food, she's working part-time at a culinary vacation company, The International Kitchen, based in the Windy City, as well as repping Younique cosmetics and skincare products. Some of her writing can be found at Examiner.com.
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