Willa Jean bakery and restaurant, opened by Besh Group members Kelly Fields and Lisa White just last week, is more than a place to get a coffee and scone on the way to work in the morning. Fields and White offer menus from breakfast to dinner, and coffee to cocktails. In fact, the cocktail menu boasts a variety of coffee- and tea- based cocktails that you'd be hard pressed to find anywhere else in the city, in order to assist in that transition from breakfast to cocktail hour.
See below for suggestions for what to order at Willa Jean, whatever the time of day. But looking at the menus (also found below) it's pretty plain to see that it'd be hard to go wrong.
COFFEE, BREAKFAST & BRUNCH
Willa Jean's coffee program was designed in collaboration with Chicago's Intelligentsia Coffee and uses dairy from local Mauthe's Progress Dairy Farms. Breakfast is served every morning starting at 7am, with the brunch menu available on Saturdays and Sundays from 7am until 4pm.
The hanger steak with fried egg and potato is actually available for lunch and dinner as well.
In addition to sweet and savory breakfast pastries on the breakfast menu, freshly made biscuits served with your choice of butter & jam, sausage gravy, boudin, or fried chicken.
Lunch & Dinner
The mid-day and evening menu features snacks, sandwiches/tartines, soups, salads, and hot plates. The crostini party is a great way to sample several of the menu items in miniature form— such as the smoked salmon, the tuna nicoise, the grilled figs and goat cheese, and local tomatoes and feta.
The smoked salmon with cheese, capers, and red onion on pumpernickel can also be found on the breakfast menu.
As befitting an operation run by two pastry experts, the dessert menu is wide and varied. Cookies and other treats are ready at the counter to go, but the plated desserts are worth taking a moment to sit down for.
"Cherries + chocolate + pistachios + other crunchy things" is pretty much what it sounds like.
The "Keylime Something or Other" is a broken crust key lime custard concoction served with whatever the kitchen wishes— in the photo above, blueberries round out the flavors and textures in the glass.