Crust Issues

Cellar Door Provisions is setting the new standard for baking

When we walked into Cellar Door Provisions, we thought we'd come to the wrong place.

The space is so sparse–with its bare white walls and rough-hewn farm tables–that it feels more like a pop-up gallery than a bakery. That is, until we saw the bread.

Loaf after glorious loaf ($6) looked like a cookbook that's come to life. It's the kind of bread that makes you want to put yourself into a deep, sleepy carb coma.

Country boules waiting to be torn apart

Naturally leavened and baked daily, these country boules may change Chicago's standards for artisanal bread. The crust is so thick and crackly that you have to rip it apart with a primal bite (If you're more proper than we are, you can probably cut it into pieces with a bread knife.) The inside is one big air bubble, light and fluffy.

Cellar Door also serves pastries (croissants, financiers and morning buns) and a vegan Speculoos cookie that crumbles into cinnamon air in your mouth.

What else is on the menu? That depends. The changing breakfast and lunch selections, all made with locally sourced ingredients, are posted daily on giant sheets of butcher paper near the counter. A house sausage plate ($14)–an anise-laced sausage patty served with a perfectly poached egg–was a meaty morning pick-me-up, the fresh English muffins reminding us that they have the potential to be much more than store-bought hockey pucks.

If you need to warm up, go for the creamy celery root soup ($7), the perfect stick-to-your-ribs dish for a vegetarian.

With an order of bread and butter, of course.