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A counter with spices hanging.
The Spice House in Old Town is trying out some new tricks.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

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Chicago’s Beloved Spice House Unveils First New Chef Collaboration

Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto joins forces with Old Town’s icon

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Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

For 65 years, the Spice House in Old Town has sold salts, pepper, and turmeric to Chicago customers. The fabled business has carved its own path away from founder Bill Penzey’s path at Penzey’s Spices, and Chicagoans can find Spice House selections, like Vulcan’s Fire Salt and more, at select neighborhood grocers. There are locations in suburban Evanston and in Milwaukee.

A 2019 roof fire forced ownership to remodel the space, but the shop, which gets busier during the holiday season — for gift giving and for home cooks preparing special meals — has been back and it has a few tricks up its sleeve.

For one, it’s kicking off a new collaboration with Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto. His blend features black garlic, black pepper, and toasted onion. He’ll also be in the store on December 8 for a meet and greet with tickets on sale to the general public. Look for more collaboration with award-winning chefs in the future.

The Spice House is one of the older businesses along Wells Street.
A brick facade on top of a storefront with two windows.
A counter with four glass jars, and shelves of spices.
Masaharu Morimoto and the Spice House are collaborating.

They’re also trying to hook novice home cooks with ways to make shopping for spices less intimidating. Spice House workers have a new gimmick, they’re calling it the Scent Experience, where employees will take customers through 20 different scent strips that give off the aromas of different spices. Check out the photos of the remodeled space below.

The Spice House, 1512 N. Wells Street

Three shelves stocked with jars and packets of spices.
The Spice House rebuilt after a 2019 fire.
A hand holding a spice jar with a spoon scooping up a spice blend.
Buying spices doesn’t have to be intimidating.
A hand holding a spoon with a long handle.
Workers will now go through spices to help novice cooks.
Three jars of spices.
They’re calling this the “Scent Experience.”

The Spice House

1512 North Wells Street, , IL 60610 (312) 274-0378 Visit Website
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