Pinch Spice Market

I don’t know when we discovered Pinch Spice Market, but I’m really glad we did. It’s a great little business here in Chicago, on Milwaukee Avenue, maybe half a blog away from the Western-O’Hare Blue line stop. More importantly, it’s near Ipsento Coffee, which is where Bill is getting most of his coffee beans right now, so it’s a great place that’s conveniently located for us. Though, to be honest, I love the place so much I now go buy my spices there whether we’re going to Ipsento or not.

Wall mounted shelves filled with bulk spices.

My Chicago readers need to check this place out. The selection is good, the interior gorgeous, and most importantly the proprietors, Mike and Shoebocks1, are incredibly friendly and helpful. Not only are they quick to help find a spice or fill an order, they’re happy to answer any question, or even just chat for a bit.

Renee and Shoebocks.

And, if you have a question they don’t have an immediate answer to? Well, not to worry, they will find it for you. They also have some helpful guides around the place, to help you figure out what you might be looking for.

Homebrewer's Companion Book
Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn

The only thing that could make me happier about this place is if they sold some of these books. Not that I could buy Charcuterie yet, but I’d probably own Homebrewer’s Companion now if I could have purchased it there. I was ready to buy that book the moment I saw it in the shop. I have no idea what about being in a spice shop made me want to buy a brewing book, but it’s probably that spices facilitate daydreams about spiced beers. Spiced beers that I made.

Some other time. Somehow, the book is less appealing when I’m looking at it on Amazon.

Front display of cutting boards, furniture and aquaponics at Pinch Spice Market.

But there’s one last reason I love Pinch Market so very much. Not only is it light-filled, and comforting and peaceful, it has some secrets. Secrets that, once I knew them, spoke my language perfectly.

Those cutting boards? I believe Shoebocks makes them. The furniture is made by Rob Christopher, who owns Emotive Reclaim. You can purchase this, and a few more pieces at Pinch2.

You can also buy Co-Op Hot Sauces at Pinch Market. And the guys have mentioned trying to get in local vinegars as well.

In other words, without making a fuss about it (I didn’t know until my third or fourth visit about a lot of this), Pinch Spice Market is working to support other Chicago-area businesses. Exactly the kind of small, locally-owned business I want most to support.

I’m glad to have discovered this place. I’ve been shopping there for several months now, and it’s the only place I want to shop for spices anymore. As I said above, we discovered them because we were in the neighborhood, but it’s a good enough place that now I go out of my way just to buy my spices there.

Check ’em out. You won’t be disappointed.

fn1. I have never quite asked where this nickname comes from. But it’s how he introduces himself, so it’s what I call him.

fn2. The table in that link is amazing. I saw it on Wednesday in person and I instantly wanted it. If we didn’t already own a table, I’d be strongly considering it. My friend Matt should consider buying it. I know he’s in the market for a table.