I have to apologize for the influx of Lincoln Square posts recently. The neighborhood is filled with some really good gems, which explains why, despite the stroller influx, it still holds a warm place in my heart. Today’s installment is where I find myself shopping for loose-leaf tea. Yes, there are some pretty extensive boutique tea shops in the Chicagoland area, but when I want tea, I head on over to Julius Meinl in Lincoln Square. In February I stopped by before my Chef Martin sausage making class and was disappointed to see them closed at 6pm. Hopefully those were just winter hours and they’ll be open later now that spring is here.

Grocery Gal Julius Meinl Lincoln Square

At the corner of Lincoln and Montrose. Unfortunately they close at 3pm weekdays.

What makes Meinl so special? Well, being half Austrian is one reason, and another parlays off of studying abroad in Vienna during college. The Julius Meinl am Graben is a foodie’s paradise alongside places like Zum Schwarzen Kameel and Trzesniewski. They are all in walking distance from the place I will forever stay at: Pension Nosek. Whoops, sorry for the travelosity digression. Long story short, when Meinl came to Chicago in 2002 I became a loyal, but infrequent, customer. I’m not a huge coffee person, so when I stop in it’s often for a special occasion.

grocerygal-meinl-coffeeMy drink of choice at Meinl is a melange; a Viennese coffee drink which is something between a cappuccino and a latte. They sprinkle some cocoa on top as a final touch. It’s not the same experience when ordering it to go. When I do order one, I try to sit down at a table for the full Viennese experience which includes a glass of water and ginger cookie on top of a silver tray. Unfortunately, there wasn’t any time to sit down this visit.

Meinl offers a nice variety of coffees, teas and jams. I don’t buy the coffee, only because I can’t replicate the melange experience at home. What I do stock up on are the teas, which come in a variety of flavors, running in a $3-$6 price point. My two favorites are the Silver Cloud white tea and the Vanilla Rooibos. The rooibos has a decadent dessert-like flavor and is naturally zero calories – just perfect.

Julius Meinl Grocery Gal tea

The color of the Meinl boy explains the type of tea it is: fruit, rooibos, white tea, black tea

You’re probably wondering, so what, it’s tea, I can get that anywhere, right? Well, not quite. While I didn’t have time to sit and enjoy a melange, I did take a peek at what makes Meinl a favorite for my father and so many others: the dessert case. Meinl does one of the best jobs for creating authentic Viennese pastries in Chicago. Growing up, my family helped to keep the Vienna Pastry Shop on Addison and Long in business. When they closed down years ago, we struggled to find something comparable. People tried to turn us on to Oak Mill Bakery, but it wasn’t the same. While very pricey, the Meinl Patisserie makes wonderful pastries, perfect for pairing with a melange, cappuccino, pot of tea or even a regular ole coffee. If you are looking to feed a larger group, Cafe Vienna in Lincoln Park also makes great Viennese-style pastries at a lower price point. I’ve only had Cafe Vienna’s pastries; I have yet to try their melange. If money is not an object, you can enjoy Meinl’s pastries in full size cake sizes, too.

Julius Meinl Pastries Lincoln Square Grocery Gal

More than just strudel…

If you don’t have a huge sweet tooth, their granola is also a good option. It’s available in bags and in to-go parfaits for breakfast.

grocerygal-meinl-granolaI highly recommend buying your tea, coffee, jam or granola as an entire Julius Meinl experience. Whether that is simply a melange or pot of tea on its own, paired with a delicious pastry, or part of a full meal during brunch or lunch (their menu is spectacular), you’ll be pleasantly surprised. And hopefully you’ll see why I buy all my loose-leaf teas here. In addition to Lincoln Square, they have one at location at Southport and Addison; it’s their original coffeehouse.  A downtown location perfect for tourists should be opening soon at 211 E. Ontario. I know I’ll be recommending my out-of-town guests to stop in as they’re hanging out on the Magnificent Mile. Hmm, that’s a short walk from Eataly. I wonder if Meinl plans to take it up a notch and have more food for sale like their Vienna flagship Meinl Am Graben? I can’t wait to find out!

Julius Meinl on Lincoln. 4363 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60618. 773-868-1876. Open 7 days, but call for hours.


14 Comments

  1. Carmen
    Posted April 21, 2014 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    You start out with your bias-laden “stroller influx” crack. I decided to let that go. Your lame attempt at humor of some sort. However, I must take issue with the spelling and grammatical errors in this piece. I mean, what is “studing”? While spellcheck might have missed that, I would highly recommend a bit of proofreading not only for content, but to check for spelling and grammar. At any rate, I wasn’t going to comment on this, but you are parading as a “writer” aren’t you? So, if you are going to be a writer, shouldn’t you know how to write? I know I’m going to get all kinds of nasty responses from a bunch of other people who don’t think it is important to know how to write, but so be it.

    • Grocery Gal
      Posted April 21, 2014 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

      Thanks – your scathing comments helped me realize an older version of the post was published. Never said to anyone I’m a writer, I’m just a passionate person who likes to share interesting things about Chicago to others. Yep, my grammar might be off here and there, but my enthusiasm is what makes people love this blog.

    • Yuppiepunk
      Posted April 24, 2014 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

      Carmen, I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this post as much as I did. Perhaps you confused this blog with another one of similar title: Grammar Girl.

      Also, thank you for the milk-out-the-nose laugh you gave me. I found it hilariously ironic that your second sentence. Isn’t. A. Complete. Sentence.

      • Yuppiepunk
        Posted April 24, 2014 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

        I sure did a face plant on that one. I should have said third sentence.

        • Grocery Gal
          Posted April 25, 2014 at 12:00 am | Permalink

          Face plant or not, brilliant observation, Yuppiepunk! Thanks for the support :-)

  2. Roxanne
    Posted April 22, 2014 at 1:29 am | Permalink

    Great write up!

    I would like to say that I don’t understand people who belittle others, but unfortunately I do understand why. Nonetheless, keep doing what you love:)

    • Grocery Gal
      Posted April 22, 2014 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      Thanks for your kind words and your support!

  3. Lora krouse
    Posted April 22, 2014 at 4:12 am | Permalink

    Thanks to your blog, I went and love the coffee and food! Great gifts too! Love your writing!

    • Grocery Gal
      Posted April 22, 2014 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      Thanks, Lora! Yes, I didn’t even dive into the great gifts they have. You can buy one of their gift baskets, or pick up individual items on their own to create the perfect gift.

  4. Lyn W
    Posted April 22, 2014 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    These types of people are usually the ones who feed off of nasty replies. So, at first I was going to leave it alone. All I can say is that Carmen must have some extremely low self-esteem. Or maybe her parents didn’t teach her “if you can’t say something nice, say nothing at all.” There’s just no other good reason to come on a blog and leave such negativity. Grocery Gal, we’re thoroughly enjoying your blog. It’s obvious that people love what you do. Don’t let the negative Nancy bring you down!

    • Grocery Gal
      Posted April 22, 2014 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for your support Lyn!

  5. Truckdude
    Posted April 22, 2014 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    Carmen says she is going to “let you go” on the stroller comment, then proceeds to bash you. Clearly a passive aggressive person with anger issues. Being long past stroller pushing years, I thought it was funny.

  6. Yuppiepunk
    Posted April 24, 2014 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for this post! I was whining about needing a different coffee shop. Living in Humboldt Park, I’ve completely wiped this place from my mind. Lincoln Square can be a hike, but I trust your advice and will brave the Montrose/Lincoln traffic.

    Also, I really appreciate the warning about the egoists who need to inflict pain on the general populace via their clones. Now I know to go in ass-less chaps and leather harness on the way to drop the girls off at Montessori school.

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