Boutique Bakeshop

Stylish sweets at Hendrickx Belgian Bread Crafter

With its dramatic black and orange color scheme and artfully arranged displays of breads and sweets, the Gold Coast's new Hendrickx Belgian Bread Crafter is less neighborhood bakery and more chic bread boutique.

Countertops brim with pastry chef Renaud Hendrickx's apple turnovers ($3), rich and doughy chocolate croissants ($3), dense whole-wheat bread ($6), and cakelike Belgian muffins with white chocolate, dark chocolate or almond paste tucked inside ($2.25).

The centerpiece is a gargantuan round loaf of Belgian country bread with a golden crust and a springy interior, weighing in at seven pounds. Get it whole ($35) for a striking addition to a party spread (it serves at least 30), or purchase a half ($18), one-quarter ($9) or an eighth ($4.50).

More display counters are in the works: Look for fruit-filled éclairs, Belgian dark chocolate truffles and mille-feuilles–many-layered puff-pastry-and-cream concoctions–in the coming weeks.

For now, the sweetest goods are two Belgian pearl-sugar-topped loaves: craquelin, a brioche loaf flavored with raisins and almond paste ($13), and rich, orange-spiked white-chocolate bread ($15). When the occasion calls for outrageously rich French toast, look no further than these loaves.

Hendrickx Belgian Bread Crafter, 100 E. Walton St. (near Michigan Ave.); 312-649-6717