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Best Up-And-Coming Local Brands In Chicago

The City of Big Shoulders can create and perfect brands beyond deep dish pizzas and Frango mints. The range of emerging, Chicago- grown brands is vast from down home sauces to undergarments that help you look good after you ingest too much of that sauce with pork under it.

Schmaltz Products
1512 N. Naper Blvd., Suite 152
Naperville, IL 60563

If you feel compelled to slug the next person who says, "Everything's better with bacon" as if that has never been uttered before, you might be tempted to say, "Bacon, schmacon."  Schmacon is smoked and glazed beef slices, invented by a deli guy, that's lower in sodium, calories and fat than traditional pork bacon. The all-natural and uncured beef product that cooks in half the time of raw pork bacon, should be in local grocery stores in a few months. The smoky sweet product is the work of Schmaltz Products in Wheaton, IL.

Phoebe & Louie's
Paw Naturals
932 W. Monroe
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 243-4080

Paw Naturals, a West Loop pet boutique founded by native Chicagoan Jami Ippolito, has become a leading provider of premium dog and cat food and all-natural health and fun pet products. The local business offers its own brand of dog food called Phoebe & Louie's, named after the owner's pups. It is available at the Paw Naturals brick and mortar store and online.  Phoebe & Louie's earned Pet Business Magazine's Editor's Choice Award in 2014 and was featured on the cover of Petfood Industry Magazine.

Related:  Best Locally Made Beauty Products In Chicago

1010 North Seminary
Woodstock, Illinois 60098

Porkies offers original and spicy barbecue sauces that are manuafactured locally in Union, IL. The family recipe sauce can be purchased in a laser etched 16oz mason jar for $10 and the eatery will happily refill it for $5. It's so good that owner Jakes Dioguardi's  brother uses it at his Smoke Houses in Denver and Aspen, Colorado. In addition to its humble shop on Route 47, Porkies is opening a location outside of the new Harley Davidson dealership in Woodstock which will also sport a full bar, outdoor beer garden and live entertainment weekly during the warm  months. Regulars claim you must try a Pig Wing doused in the sauce. Porkies stages more than 500 pig roasts per year. This is more than any company in the U.S.

SOCIAL Enjoyments

No matter how healthy a lifestyle you aim for, it's nice to have a cocktail with friends and not watch your waist expand with every sip. Enter SOCIAL Enjoyments, a matter-of-fact named adult beverage with a wonderful Chicago backstory. Launched by Leah Caplanis, a 31-year-old thyroid cancer survivor, the drink is the first alcoholic beverage ever to include full nutritional information on its label. The sparkling sake wine is organic, low in sugar, and at 88 calories is just one-third the calories of a regular glass of wine. Drink it straight or mix either of the two flavors. For example, mix the Hibiscus Cucumber with a splash of vodka to make a healthier cocktail. It's currently available in Chicago and the suburbs at stores like Mariano's, Target, Walgreens, Plum Market, Whole Foods, Treasure Island and more.

Related: Best New Cocktail Bars In Chicago

Jacky Runice has been a columnist with the Daily Herald Chicago since grunge music and flannel was the new black. Her fingers and gray matter have been busy as travel editor of Reunions Magazine; penning a column that was syndicated around the nation via Tribune Media Services. Her work can be found at

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