Market Watch: Maxwell Street relaunches
👋 Hey, it's Monica. I'm a longtime fan of Chicago's century-old Maxwell Street Market — now technically on Desplaines Street.
- I was super sad when it shut down during the pandemic but thrilled to see it relaunch, so I went to review the weekly market's first Sunday back.
The wares: With only about 20 booths, the Sunday pickings were slim.
- Bric-a-brac included old clothes, headphones, used kitchenware, Spanish Bible storybooks, second-hand bikes, jugs of hand sanitizer, and old tools.
The food: Where there used to be more than a dozen Mexican food stands, Sunday's market featured only one.
- I didn't jump in the long line, but the pineapple-topped pastor meat and freshly made tortillas smelled delicious.
Note: This is the first in a series of local market reviews. Reply and tell us about your favorites.
Food alternatives: Until Maxwell Street rebuilds its formerly great Mexican offerings, rely on these neighborhood faves for a post-market meal.
- Pick up a Polish and pork chop sandwich at nearby Jim's Original or Express Grill.
- Or have a classic deli nosh at Manny's, still open on Sundays.
Bright spot: I did buy cookies from local baker Anthony Price, who has developed "special recipes for CPS-style butter cookies, oatmeal, chocolate chip, and peanut butter cookies," he says.
- I loved his cream cheese frosted oatmeal cookies even though inflation forced him to hike the price from $5 to $7 for six.
The crowds: Diverse families, friends, and couples looking for a snack and a bargain.
The bottom line: While there is something absurdly charming about the mishmash of weird junk here, the overall vibe was disappointing.
- Maxwell has withered into a shell of its former self and needs to get its mojo back.
- Speaking of mojo — the market's usual blues guitarist was also absent Sunday.
If you go: Sundays from 9am to 3pm at 800 S. Desplaines St.
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