In the US, Americans eat mainly sliced enriched white breads and sandwich loafs. Nevertheless, in Chicago you can find nice loafs of bread and European style breads in supermarkets such as Whole Food Markets, Treasure Island Foods and Trader Joe. You can also buy French style breads baked by the company Cuisine de France Inc. that supplies a number of convenience chains, independent supermarkets, produce markets, and delis in Chicago. Moreover at the Green City Market (http://chicagogreencitymarket.org/), several local bakers sell their breads and baked goods like Bennison’s Bakery (Evanston) and Floriole Bakery (http://www.floriole.com/Floriole/floriole.html).
Pastoral is a cheese shop in the European tradition. In their two locations (Lakeview, Loop and a third shop coming soon), you will find fresh breads. The baguettes and peasant breads are freshly baked and sold every day whereas other breads such as Onion Walnut Boule or Olive Bread, among others, are sold on specific days. The price level is high.
The Lakeview store is open from Monday to Friday from 11 am to 8 pm, Saturday from 11 am to 7 pm, and on Sunday from 11 am to 6 pm. The Loop store is open from Monday to Friday from 10:30 am to 8 pm, Saturday and Sunday from 11 am to 6 pm.
Red Hen Bread Store http://www.redhenbread.com/
The Red Hen Bread Store sells Baguette, Ciabatta, pastries, scones, croissants, and muffins. They also take special orders for special occasions. In their cafes, you can also sit and take a coffee or a tea with something sweet to eat. The Red Hen Bread store has two locations in Chicago opened Monday to Saturday from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm and on Sunday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. The opening hours may vary in the winter months. Therefore, it is better to call the shops to check if it is open.
Swedish Bakery http://www.swedishbakery.com/
At the Swedish bakery you can find European breads (mainly Swedish, German and French styles). They also have pastries, cookies and cakes. The Swedish Bakery is a traditional family-owned bakery located on 5348 North Clark Street and opened on Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Saturday from 6:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. It is also possible to order online.
The Austrian Bakery http://www.austrianbakery.com/
At the Austrian bakery, you can buy German breads and Austrian pastries, order awesome birthday cakes and get lunch. They serve sandwiches and soups (their goulash is very good). During the summer, they have some tables outside on Clark Street. Located in Lincoln Park, the Austrian Bakery is open Monday to Thursday from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm and Friday and Saturday from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm.
The Panera Bread http://www.panerabread.com/
The Panera Bread is a bakery-café chain. You will find the Panera Bread everywhere in Chicago. There you can buy a large variety of breads, pastries and cakes. They each have seating areas where you can eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. Their French baguette is a good compromise if you cannot buy it in a specialized bakery. Most of the places have a free WIFI hotspot. Opening hours may vary from a location to another.
The two following places do not sell bread but wonderful French style pastries. The prices are rather high but it worth it.