Chicago bakery makes cookies inspired by your favorite park

UPDATE: This location is now closed. 

It’s a wonderful feeling to taste the handmade baked goods and coffee at By The Park, a Chicago-based cookie shop that features delectable treats named after parks from around the world, set in the ambiance of your local park.

Baking extraordinaire Isabel Carpenter opened By The Park (2342 N. Clark St.) at the end of 2015.

“I created the space because I wanted to bring Chicago unique and excellent cookies, each variety influenced by the best of what I found in my cookie tour around the world,” she says. “I handcraft each cookie with careful attention and love.  Additionally, I wanted to create a community — a place for people to bring their children, or just themselves, and be able to relax in a warm and aesthetically pleasing environment.”

The shop is true to its name with charming picnic tables, nature-inspired wall designs and park benches.

Your sweet tooth will be charmed by scrumptious cookies, biscotti, bars and delicious coffee from Oregon-based Stumptown Roasters and different flavors of Rishi tea.

Everything is house made from scratch using coconut oil. Favorites named after famous parks include the mouth-watering Boston Common Cookie with peanut butter and jam, the fun Zilker Park Cookie with rainbow sprinkles and white chocolate chips, the Yosemite Park Cookie with a tangy flavor of homemade granola, cranberry and white chocolate chips, the Versailles Gardens Bar made of chocolate truffle, toasted coconut and oreo crust and The Grant Park biscotti with its lemon and white chocolate goodness.

By the Park also serves vegan and gluten-free options. Prices are very modest; most cookies are only $2. Don’t forget to take advantage of the lovely special — buy five cookies, and get the sixth cookie free!

Your littles will enjoy the nature-inspired play area, complete with a carpet that looks like grass. You’ll love the balance of fun and calm that leaves you to drink your coffee in peace while your kids play blissfully. It’s worth noting that this shop doesn’t require you to run after them after every sip.

As I sat on the bench by the play area enjoying my Biscayne Park Cookie infused with lime, chocolate chips and graham crackers, my son took pleasure in building the nursery rhyme puzzle and my daughter chose to rock in the moose. Afterwards, they were incredibly happy with their choice of the National Mall Bar — a delicacy of white chocolate truffle, chocolate cookie topping and chocolate cookie crust.

By The Park hosts free events throughout the month such as coloring and story time, which is just another plus for bringing the kids along. The shop also hosts free Wi-Fi and the unique opportunity to become a “cookie fan.” If you’re in the neighborhood, this is a stop you absolutely must make.

And if you do decide to visit, we’ll take a dozen cookies please!

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