Toni Patisserie | The Loop, Chicago, IL

The Loop's new Toni Patisserie

It's a common quandary: Where to take the out-of-towners for a restorative snack after an afternoon spent touring Millennium Park and the Art Institute?

We'll be returning to two-month-old Toni Patisserie regularly once the onslaught of holiday-season visitors begins.

After 17 years at her Hinsdale bakery of the same name, Toni Mari Cox opened downtown with a window-lined, marble-filled bakery a block and a half from The Bean.

Her Francophilia is manifest in massive croissants, petite hazelnut-flavored Paris-Brest, and tartes aux pommes, thin disks of puff pastry tiled with caramelized apple slices. On a recent afternoon, pecan pie and blueberry galettes lined the counter, and salted caramel-chocolate tarts ($5.25) filled the case, waiting to be eaten with a Metropolis cappuccino or a cup of Harney & Sons tea.

The savory menu is hearty, too. Chicken livers are confited for four hours for the salade de gésier ($10.25), and dense, house-made pâté lines "Le Banh Mi" ($9.75). For a cross-cultural snack, there are buttery Southern-style biscuits layered with French ham and Gruyère ($5).

Toni has value for Loop workers as well: Pop in at lunch or post-work (it's open until 6 p.m. on weekdays) for a crusty loaf of Labriola bread or house-made challah.

Toni Patisserie, 65 E. Washington St.; 630-789-2020 or