There’s nothing better than yummy homemade baked goods, except when the professionals bake them for you! These four Barrington bakers in our show bring a combined 110 years of baking excellence to the community. Each has been in business for more than 15 years, and some more than twice that, including time spent in training. Their independently owned bakeries have kitchens onsite where they handmake small-batch products. Step inside to meet our baking stars and see what makes them and their products unique.
Inside Clarke’s Bakery & Deli, a red sign offers an Irish Gaelic welcome, Céad Míle Fáilte, which means “100,000 welcomes”. Matthew Clarke evokes this welcome, offering a place for friends to gather for breakfast or lunch. Sandwiches and homemade soups are available along with his signature bakery goods. Matthew was one of 14 children in his family’s home country of Ireland. After immigrating to the U.S., a baking career was born. In 1978, Matthew apprenticed at a French baking company and was later trained in the art of teaching others to bake. His cakes, cookies, and pies are made daily. And just in time for St. Patrick’s Day is his Irish soda bread. The cross that’s cut into the bread lets out all bad and invites in the good. Sláinte!
Clarke’s Bakery & Deli is located 455 W. Northwest Highway and is open on Monday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday to Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 847-381-5113 or visit clarkesbakeryanddeli.com.
Ambrosia Euro-American Patisserie is a favorite Barrington baked goods destination and gathering place, located at The Foundry. Deborah Rivera maintains excellence in her business through her highly trained staff who serve customers the best pastries this side of Paris. A family-owned business for more than 30 years, Ambrosia offers artisan goods made daily including croissants, brioche, muffins, cookies, and beverages such as flavored coffee and expresso. The seasonal menu features gorgeous and delicious cakes, charlottes, and tarts. Known for their beautiful wedding cakes, be sure to order in advance for any specialty item you want. The Marketplace at Ambrosia offers ready-to-go olives, cheeses, French bread loaves, olive oil, and much more.
Ambrosia is open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturday. Call 847-304-8278 or visit discoverambrosia.com.
Christi’s Sweet Café is owned by professional pastry chef Christi Radulescu. Trained at Kendall College, she also learned on-the-job at the Del Rio restaurant in Highwood, Hotel Sofitel in Rosemont, the 95th Floor Signature Room restaurant in Chicago, and was the executive pastry chef at the Grand Geneva Resort. She also trained with one of international chef and TV personality Gordon Ramsay’s protégés. One of Christi’s favorite things to bake are sweet and savory scones (check out her unique flavor combinations). She offers cakes, confections, muffins, and browned-butter chocolate chip cookies. For specialty items such as themed cakes, give her at least 5 days-notice with your order.
Located at the Barrington Commons, Christi’s Sweet Café is open Wednesday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. On Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. On Sundays, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Call 224-655-7334 or visit christissweetcafe.com
Ella Bonella’s owner Andrew Mansour has been cooking since he was 8. His love of cooking and influences all came from family. Before devoting his time to baking, Andrew passed the Illinois Bar Exam, and through his business education, managed to secure four semesters in Paris while studying. While set up for a career in business, baking was his calling. A booth at the Barrington Farmers Market was a first step for his business, named after one of his many dogs, Ella.
Andrew makes small batches daily and uses seasonal ingredients—such as for the limited-edition Lebanese Streusel apple blackberry cake, pictured here. The crisscross piecrust tops his savory Italian Easter pie which features spinach, ricotta, parmesan, prosciutto, and a pepper-infused crust. Other popular items include pies, pasties, donuts (on Sundays), and lunch and dinner foods. Using a no-waste business model, all orders are scheduled in advance of pick-up times at his store.
Order Ella Bonella online at ellabonella.com or call 847-560-1523. Pick-up times are Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and Sundays, from 9–11 a.m. at 421 N. Northwest Highway, near The Garlands of Barrington.
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