Newsletter contributor and Owner #838 Maia Welbel stopped by recently and shared this great review of Read It & Eat: Chicago’s only “culinary bookstore,” dedicated entirely to food!
Chicago Market Owner #690 and former board member Esther Dairiam has created this special and wonderful new space. Inspired by a similar bookstore she once visited in Paris, Dairiam is committed to filling her shop with unique products and delicious experiences. Currently stocking 4,000 volumes and 3,700 distinct titles, most of the books at Read It & Eat are single copy. While customers seeking popular cookbooks are likely to find what they’re looking for, Dairiam also likes to share things that people haven’t come across anywhere else. She notes that online recipes and videos may have become ubiquitous, but they can’t replace the tactile experience of a physical cookbook.
Nor can they build community, but Read It & Eat is designed to do just that!
The store’s layout includes a full kitchen complete with a double oven and plenty of shiny counter space. They hosts book signings, cooking classes, demonstrations, and pop-up dinners. Dairiam says her rule of thumb is that there should be good food involved at every event. Bookcases can be reconfigured to accommodate tables and chairs, transforming the store into a perfect spot for group gatherings.
The shop has become a destination for visitors to the city and locals alike. Stop by and say hi to Esther, who is often at the store. Check out the shelves full of colorful photographs, recipes, stories and breathe deep: more often than not, the air inside is filled with the aroma of cookies baking, olive oil sizzling, or fresh herbs and spices.
Read It & Eat is located at 2142 N. Halsted, in Lincoln Park.