Valentine’s Day falls on a Monday this year, which is not the most optimal night for a romantic meal out. But there are plenty more ways to show love — not just to crushes, lovers, and spouses, but also to friends and family. Send some cookies. Pick up some doughnuts or a box of handmade candy. Hell, snag an entire cake or a pie. Here’s a list of bakeries, stores, and Valentine’s Day pop-ups going on around town. Place your preorders early to avoid getting shut out.
As of January 3, the city has mandated that those ages 5 and up be fully vaccinated and masked at public places indoors while not actively eating or drinking. For updated information on coronavirus cases, please visit the city of Chicago’s COVID-19 dashboard. Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.
Around Town: Beatrix is selling Valentine’s Day cookie decorating kits at its Fulton Market, River North, and Streeterville locations. Each kit costs $17.95 and comes with six sugar cookies, four icing bags, and sprinkles. Preorder via Tock at least a day in advance for pickup through Monday, February 14. Beatrix Market, various locations, Open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
Around Town: Firecakes Donuts, which has four locations in the city and suburbs, has Donutgrams for sale over the weekend, a red box of a dozen mini-yeast doughnuts decorated to look like roses. There are also special Valentine’s boxes of a dozen or half-dozen specialty doughnuts, mostly pink or heart-shaped or decorated with conversation hearts or rose-gold sprinkles. For an extra $27, add on a bouquet from Flowerchild. Firecakes Donuts, various locations, preorder online.
Avondale: You’re A Cookie, the cookie shop that offers all its gluten-free wares in butter and vegan versions, is celebrating its first Valentine’s Day with a half-pound heart-shaped cookie cakes and boxes of individually-wrapped cookie grams that people can pass out to loved ones, just like they used to pass out cheap paper valentines in elementary school, except these taste better. You’re A Cookie, 3053 N. California, Open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, February 11; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, February 14.
Chatham: Brown Sugar Bakery is selling special cakes and heart-shaped candy boxes for Valentine’s Day: milk chocolate turtles, chocolate-covered strawberries, and three flavors of cake, also decorated with turtles and strawberries. All of this is available first come, first served until Sunday, February 13. Brown Sugar Bakery, 328 E. 75th Street, Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Fulton Market: Good Ambler, the bakery and chocolate shop in the lobby of the Mondelez headquarters, has a full range of bonbons and pastries for the holiday, including a special chocolate box, marshmallow teddy bears, and a petit gateau for two. All are available for preorder online; pickup will be Friday through Monday. Good Ambler, 216 N. Peoria Street, Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, order via Tock.
Logan Square: Bang Bang Pie is combining the Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day into one special Super Love menu, which also suits those who prefer to show love with savory treats and save sweets for watching football. Offerings include heart-shaped pie tarts (filled with guava and chocolate raspberry), pigs in blankets, and Super Pie (stuffed with Eugene Porter beer caramel, kettle chips, and Chicago Mix popcorn, among other things). Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits, 2051 N. California Avenue, Open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, February 13, preorder online.
Ravenswood: Maa Maa Dei, also known as baker Jaye Fong, who prepares American-style baked goods with Asian flavors — kinako pecan chocolate chip cookies, salted miso caramels — will be popping up at Ponno Place, the boutique owned by artist Adrianne Hawthorne, also known as Ponnopozz, on Saturday, February 12. Preorders are already sold out, but Fong will have extra cookies and treats available to buy on-site. Maa Maa Dei and Ponnopozz, Saturday, February 12, 4839 N. Damen, noon to 3 p.m.
Ravenswood: Robert et Fils’s pastry chef Cati Molnar has prepared a box of special Valentine’s Day pastries, including a citron tart, a slice of chai opera cake, a sunflower Paris-Brest, and a chocolate fondant. Preorder online for pickup on Sunday, February 13. Robert et Fils, 4229 N. Lincoln Avenue, Pickup Sunday, February 13, 1 p.m. to 3 pm, order via Tock.
Washington Heights: Pop the Love, a Valentine’s Day pop-up shop, will take place on Saturday, featuring a live DJ, a stepping station, free Champagne, and food from the host, Taco Thugz catering, and Pretty Face Cooking. Pop the Love, 1260 W. 103rd Street, Open 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, February 12.
West Town: Preorders have closed for the second collaboration between Aya Pastry and Sugoi Sweets, producer of some of the prettiest bonbons in town, but there’s still time to order a special cake or blood orange bun (it’s pink) in time for the big day. Aya Pastry, 1332 W. Grand Avenue, Open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.
Evanston: Hewn Bakery is offering a special collection of pastries and bread, including heart-shaped sandwich cookies and country loaves, chocolate ganache tarts, and chocolate cherry bread. Preorder online for pickup Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. Hewn, 1733 Central Street, Evanston, Open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, order via Tock.