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Best Places To Get Your Pumpkin Fix In Chicago

By Jacqueline Runice

Although orange has been the most talked about color since the 2016 election, autumn brings a double dose of it among transforming trees and the season's star of the harvest -- pumpkin. Long the subject of merely pie and Halloween carving, the vivid squash can be found in a heck of a lot more than a certain coffee company's latte as evidenced by the following list of Chicago spots to get your orange on.

Chiya Chai
2770 N. Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 360-7541

Purporting to put Starbuck's ubiquitous Pumpkin Chai Latte to shame, the Pumpkin Spice Chai at Logan Square's Chiya Chai is steeped in Nepalese tradition (and doesn't THAT even sound tastier already)?  The Pumpkin Spice Chai begins with a fragrant mix of organic tea sourced from Nepal and a hand-ground melange of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Adding a surprising kick is the addition of fresh ginger juice and dried ground ginger and the surprising finish of ground black cardamom. Served hot or cold, Chiya Chai also offers customizable chai teas so get that Pumpkin Spice Chai spiked with vodka and you'll say, "Holy Chai!"

Floriole Cafe & Bakery
1220 W. Webster Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 883-1313

Sandra Holl, Chef/Owner Floriole Cafe & Bakery, says, "We are really excited about pumpkin season!" and her enthusiasm equals the quality of the bakery and cafe's home made goods. Stop in for a pumpkin Danish - flakey Danish pastry filled with pumpkin spice and topped with cream cheese icing. If you're doubly thrilled about fall squash? Then order the butternut squash spice tea cake topped with pumpkin seeds. And what may perhaps be the perfect fall sandwich is a pumpkin croque:  an open faced savory sandwich with roasted pumpkin, sage bechamel sauce, kale and melted cheddar cheese.

The Lunatic, The Lover & The Poet
36 W. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60661
(312) 775-0069

Don't hold the quizzical name, inspired by the three character aspects in Willie Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, against those behind this bar and bistro. Pumpkin fans will probably become all three when they savor the first sight, scent and subsequent bite of roasted pumpkin with lobster fettuccine. During October, the kitchen will be roasting pumpkins then stufifng them with pumpkin lobster fettuccine. The restaurant row bistro was named "One of the Best New Wine Bars" by Food & Wine Magazine, "One of the Hottest Places to have a Cocktail" by Eater Chicago, One of the Hottest Restaurants by Chicago Magazine and Zagat, as well as other gathering other accolades.

Related:  Best Bistros In Chicago

Wrigley BBQ
3555 N. Broadway St.
Chicago, IL 60657
773-472-1BBQ (1227)

You can find a pumpkin martini (if you must) so why not a pumpkin + barbecue mash up? Wrigley BBQ's Angry Pumpkin BBQ sauce features sweet, savory and spicy blend of flavors to give an autumn brush to all of the restaurant's wood-smoked and spice-rubbed meats. Pitmaster/owner Mitch  Liebovich also creates Pumpkin Bread Pudding with a rum and cream cheese glaze that should be a spectacular experience for fall dessert lovers. Every Sunday, Wrigley BBQ offers a BYOB brunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and during fall the brunch will feature pumpkin pancakes with pecans and homemade apple cider cinnamon syrup.

8th Annual Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival
17 Highwood Ave.
Highwood, IL 60035
(847) 668-1213

Get your pumpkin jones squashed all in one place -  the 8th Annual Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival, Oct. 6-8 offers Pumpkin Truffle Chocolate, Pumpkin Spice Funnel Cake, Pumpkin Seeds, Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Kiefer, Pumpkin Martinis, and Highwood restaurants provide  pumpkin dishes that range from sweet to savory,  Expect all you can carve pumpkins, Trick or treating, costume contests, a Pumpkin Parade, hay rides, pony and carnival rides, kids crafts, two stages of live entertainment, and all lit jack-o-lanterns will be placed on pumpkin walls throughout the Festival grounds, with ceremonial wall lightings Friday and Saturday nights, and the grand lighting on Sunday evening. The fest will once again try to beat the Guinness World Record of 30,581 for most jack-o'-lanterns carved and lit at the same time and all proceeds go to Make-A-Wish Illinois.  Each night, a Make-A-Wish family lights the grand walls and represents the organization.

Related: Best Bars For Frozen Margaritas In Chicago

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