Chicago French Market: Delicious Updates!

The Bensidoun family, market operators in France since the early 1900s and now the largest marketoperators in Paris, operates and manages Chicago French Market. The family operates nearly 100 open-air and indoor markets throughout the U.S. and Europe, including eleven Chicagoland outdoor, seasonal weekend markets which started in 1997 and four seasonal markets in New York including one on Broadway in Manhattan. 

The Bensidoun family and MetraMarket recently unveil to the public a brand new look and modernized amenities at Chicago French Market, the city’s only year-round, European-style market offering fresh food, flowers and international cuisine from more than 30 local vendors. The vendors tend to many cuisines. Japanese, French, Korean, Mexican, and German are some of specialties of the Chicago French Market. One can buy cheese, wine, meats, wines … including chocolates, ice cream, and even specialized foods, i.e., raw and vegan dishes. No matter what, there is something for everyone! At the soft opening event there was also a Kosher table with delicious Jewish meats and cheeses. Gypsy Jazz Trio serenaded all the attendees with their music. Three new vendors opened their booths to the public … Vinegusto (vinegar vendor), Aloha Poké (poke vendor) and Little Greek Corner (Greek food). 

Some stand out vendors include Aloha Poké! The vibrant colors of the vegetables in their poké and the freshness of  fish mixed with rice was like being on the Pacific Ocean with the cool breeze blowing while sunbathing on the white sandy beach. It was perfect! Also available at the market are lobster rolls, chocolates, mini donuts, BBQ sliders, macaroons, sushi, banh mi, hors d’oeuvres with cheese and cherries, and so much more. 

Chicago French Market’s refreshed dining area will now also feature authentic French café seating for 150 guests, including Parisian bistro chairs and tables and two communal farm tables that each seat eight guests. Additional seating for up to 150 will be available in the concourse and seasonal outdoor seating. Multi-colored umbrella canopies in blue, white and red will cover select tables and soften the space. Locally made tables constructed of recycled milk jugs, plus newly stained and polished concrete floors will complete the Chicago FrenchMarket dining area’s new look. All in all, the food and drink and generous hospitality both of the Besidoun Family and the MetraMarket make it such a wonderful place to visit and feel the Parisian essence.

It's no surprise that the new look and amenities are the most extensive and dramatic updates made to the market space since its grand opening in 2009—with design elements that reflect Chicago’s sister city bond to Paris and celebrate the upcoming 20th anniversary of this friendship pact that unites the City of Paris and the City of Chicago. Paris is one of 28 sister cities connected to Chicago through Chicago Sister Cities International, part of the international Sister Cities program that works to create and strengthen cultural, municipal and economic connection in more than two thousand cities around the world. 

New design features at the Chicago French Market start with a 62-foot long by 11-food tall wall mural in the Market's dining area. An expansive Paris cityscape drawn by the hand of Midwest sketch artist, Devin Chhing, the color wall mural is flanked with a photograph of Buckingham Fountain and Chicago's skyline. 

Together with a newly designed public space for people to dine at the market, customers will be greeted at both Chicago French Market entrances by custom marble mosaic rugs. Both rugs feature the Chicago French Market logo with signature red, whit and blue market canopies. Printed maps of the market will now also be available, including a braille map and personalized tour available to anyone who requires assistance navigating the marketplace. Plans are also in progress for a permanent, digital map and directory of vendors to be stations at each entrance.

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