Fox & Obel: Dine Out and Get Groceries at the Same Time

Written By Caroline in Reviews

One Clean Plate - Fox and Obel - Pear Salad and Tomato Basil Pesto Soup by Caroline Wik

Fox & Obel

401 E Illinois St.
Chicago, IL 60611

Rating: 4 out of 5 Plates
Hours: Sun-Sat: 6:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m.
Price Range: Soups: $6
Salads: $8 – $11
Hot Sandwiches: $9 – $12
Cold Sandwiches: $8 – $19
Pairings: $10
Small Plates: $6 – $9
Entrees: $10 – $15
Kids: $6


Fox and Obel Cafe on Urbanspoon

Fox & Obel sits unassumingly on the corner of Illinois St and N McClurg Ct. It has a little patio seating area, and upon entering you’re greeted with a warmly-lit and welcoming market and behind it, a cafe and restaurant.

The market half of Fox & Obel is small but features a dazzling array of high-quality artisan items, organic produce and packaged goods. You can find everything from grassfed Irish butter to fine coffees, chocolates and wines to fresh-caught fish.

Bellies rumbling, we were much more interested with the restaurant and cafe portions of Fox & Obel. The ordering process wasn’t immediately clear, thanks in-part to the register being to the far side of the actual counter as well as a “wait” sign with nobody by it. We ordered and then went and took seats by the window.

While we waited for our food to be brought to us I was able to get a good look around – some people were seated by a waiter and got menus while others were like us. The whole place is fairly clean and decorated in different shades of brown and wood colors – complimented by the colorful food and exposed brick walls.

It didn’t take too long for the waiter to bring our lunches. I had ordered the combination salad with soup, and Adam had simply ordered a large soup. I chose the pear salad with candied walnuts and maytag bleu cheese along with the tomato, basil and pesto soup. Adam got a large order of the tomato soup, which came with bread.

One Clean Plate - Fox and Obel - Tomato Basil Pesto Soup by Caroline Wik

The salad featured an interesting contrast of flavors and textures – sweet and silky pear slices, sweet and crunchy walnuts, bitter greens and finally the tangy creaminess of the maytag blue cheese. Overall clean and crisp, the salad was addicting but I paced myself with sips from the tomato-basil-pesto soup, which was amazing all on its own.

Adam’s bread was fairly plain on its own, but did an excellent job soaking up much of the soup. The filling soup had a luxurious texture, balanced flavors and had us craving more later.

Our lunch was filling and affordable – making us very happy. Service was fairly neutral – not friendly but not terrible either. I noticed the wine list for dinner was reasonable, but you could also buy a wine from the market and drink it with your meal.

What’s your favorite lunch? Where do you go for artisan specialties? Let us know in the comments! You can also find more pictures on our Fox & Obel Facebook Gallery, and while you are there Like us too!

Verdict: High-Quality Groceries and a Delicious, Affordable Bistro

For artisan items, high-quality groceries or an affordable meal, Fox & Obel is a great choice. The store is a bit confusingly laid out, especially around the registers, but it’s worth the mild inconvenience for high quality ingredients or a relaxed breakfast, lunch or even dinner.

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