News about 53rd St. in Hyde Park, Chicago

Sophie Evanoff

Harper Court’s Vanille Patisserie supports Special Olympics Chicago on National Macaron Day

National Macaron Day is Tuesday, March 20, and Vanille Patisserie is honoring the addictive French cookie and the first day of spring by donating 10 percent of in-store and online sales that day to Special Olympics Chicago.

Stop into any of Vanille’s four patisserie locations (including 5229 S. Harper Court in Hyde Park) on the 20th, and your purchase will benefit Special Olympics Chicago, the organization that offers athletic training and competition to children and adults with intellectual disabilities across the city. Special Olympic programming is available in more than 122 Chicago Public Schools throughout the city and in 23 Chicago Park District locations.

“We wanted to honor Special Olympics Chicago during their 50th year serving our city and felt National Macaron Day was a great way to show support for our local athletes,” said Sophie Evanoff, president of Vanille Patisserie. “We challenge Chicagoans to show their support by making a purchase at any of our four locations or order online on March 20,” added Evanoff.

As an added bonus, on National Macaron Day, mention #BreakingDownBarriers at any Vanille location and receive a free macaron. Vanille Patisserie features macarons in 14+ flavors including chocolate, vanilla, raspberry, caramel, coconut, pistachio, coffee, red velvet, hazelnut, Nutella, Cassis, mango passion, rose, lavender, green tea, and strawberry Champagne.

The macaron, made up two small meringue cookies with a flavored filling, was likely created in Italy during the Middle Ages and brought to France in the 16th century by the chefs of Catherine de’ Medici – the first written macaron recipe dates from the 17th century in France. Macaron Day was introduced in 2005 by Pierre Hermé, a famous French pastry chef.

All four Vanille locations will participate in the National Macaron Day celebration: Lincoln Park (2108 N. Clark Street) Lakeview (3243 N. Broadway) Chicago French Market inside Ogilvie Metra Station (131 N. Clinton Avenue) and Hyde Park (5229 S. Harper Court).

Vanille Patisserie to host Cake Social on Friday, February 2 and weekly Saturday story time

Harper Court’s Vanille Patisserie, located at 5229 S. Harper Court, is hosting a Cake Social on Friday, February 2, from 4-9 p.m.

The event will feature local DJ SpinDoctor Craig Elliott, free cake samples, cupcake decorating for children, and a “cake walk” every thirty minutes. The patisserie will also award one lucky guest a gift certificate for a custom cake valued at $250. Vanille Patisserie offers seven different cake flavors, including white buttermilk, chocolate, red velvet, carrot, lemon, hazelnut, and banana.

“We are thrilled to be part of the Hyde Park community,” says Sophie Evanoff, president, Vanille Patisserie. “The fun-filled evening is a chance for neighbors to gather, learn more about Vanille and eat some great cake,” adds Evanoff.

Vanille’s “cake walk” is similar to a game of musical chairs. Cake walk participants will walk around in a circle while music plays. When the music stops, the person standing on a designated spot will win a free cake.

The patisserie will also be collecting donations for the 18th Annual Special Olympics Polar Plunge, to be held on Sunday, March 4 at North Avenue Beach.

Starting Saturday, February 3, Vanille will be hosting a weekly Saturday story time from 9:30 until approximately 10:15 a.m. Caregivers and children are invited to the free event, featuring stories read by Vanille employees, and cookie decorating with special themed cookies for each story.

Open since December 1, 2017, the Hyde Park store is Vanille’s fourth location, with additional locations at the Chicago French Market, in Lincoln Park, and in Lakeview.

Vanille Patisserie’s Grand Opening Weekend announced for December 1-3, 2017

Harper Court’s Vanille Patisserie officially opens its new Hyde Park location at 5229 S. Harper Court on Friday, December 1 at 10:30 a.m. with a ribbon-cutting ceremony hosted by the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce, and special events and offers all weekend long.

With three existing locations in Chicago including 131 N. Clinton at the Chicago French Market in the West Loop, 2108 N. Clark Street in Lincoln Park, and 3243 N. Broadway in Lakeview, the expansion to Harper Court brings an authentic French patisserie experience to the Hyde Park community. Vanille Patisserie has been recognized by TimeOut magazine as one of the “16 Best Bakeries” in America.

Offerings include French pastries, signature cakes, macarons, petit fours, sweet and savory croissants, and candies. The patisserie also designs custom wedding cakes and offers catering for breakfast, lunch, and dessert.

Grand opening events include a drawing to win one 24-piece gift box of French macarons each month for one year, as well as free product samples, $1 coffee with a purchase, and other offers. To celebrate the opening of the Hyde Park store, Vanille will hold the Golden Macaron Contest at all four locations from December 1-3. Patrons are invited to visit the store and potentially find one of the ten Golden Macaron to win a $100 gift certificate. A $10 minimum purchase is required, with winners at all locations. Vanille is also participating in the Hyde Park Holly-Day event on Saturday, December 2, with free drop-in cookie decorating from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; no reservations required.

December is an especially tantalizing month at the patisserie, with French-inspired desserts including traditional and modern Buche de Noel in a wide variety of traditional and new flavors; petit fours, holiday cookie, and signature macaron trays; and hot chocolate mix with Vanille house-made marshmallows – perfect for last minute hostess gifts. All Vanille Patisserie locations will offer a 10% discount on holiday pre-orders made during the grand opening weekend – consider ordering the special Galette des Rois (King’s Cake), available for pick up December 24 through the end of January.

“We are delighted to open our fourth location and are excited to bring Vanille pastries and desserts to Hyde Park,” said Sophie Evanoff, President, Vanille Patisserie. “We invite customers to relax in our cozy Harper Court cafe savoring the moment to experience our high-quality, French-inspired menu featuring freshly made artisanal French pastries and cakes.”

Evanoff, a classically trained pastry chef from Chicago’s French Pastry School, has been honored with the 2016 Chicagoland Chamber of Business James Tyree Emerging Business Leadership Award, the first female small business owner to receive the honor. A dedicated and active entrepreneur, Evanoff is also an alumna from the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business program.

“Vanille Patisserie will bring a distinctive, new amenity to Hyde Park,” said Aaron Bartels, Executive Director of Commercial Real Estate Operations for the University. “Local residents will be able to enjoy both morning pastries and custom-created desserts prepared by classically trained French pastry chefs without leaving the mid-South Side.”

The Harper Court location hours are Sunday-Thursday from 7 a.m – 8 p.m. and Friday-Saturday 7:00 a.m. – 9 p.m.