Top 10: Chicago's Best Floral Shops
BY ELLE EICHINGER
Stems is a design studio and retail shop in one.
While growing up, owner Elizabeth Kitchen watched the Wicker Park area burst with new business, and in 1999 she added to that growth with her own blossom shop. For those who crave innovation, Asrai Garden is a breath of fresh air. 1935 W. North Ave., 773-782-0680
The charm of A. Vision Chicago lies not just in its conceptually modern floral arrangements, but also in the space itself, a retail shop with exposed-brick walls that provide the perfect canvas for its stock of flowers and wine, and an ideal setting for its free wine tastings, held every Friday. 910 N. Damen Ave., 773-227-5700
After 16 years in the business, Tony Polega and Clem Beaudoin have taken the art of floral arrangement to a new level, and not only with botanicals. The dual owners of Bukiety also carry organic vegetables, many of which are grown on their 33-acre farm in western Michigan. 2000 W. Carroll Ave., Ste. 104, 312-733-4580
Buying flowers online from a local enterprise is a fairly new service in Chicago, but its convenience has rendered it an instant hit with individual consumers and corporate clients alike, many of whom arrange to have their favorite bouquets delivered to them on a regular basis.
|An Exotic Collection bouquet.|
Although Jayson doesn’t cater large events or weddings, it’s among the best for individual orders and gift arrangements. The store’s expert designers help clients pick out the most seasonally appropriate stems and can even suggest the perfect accompaniment, such as a chic vase or other stunning home accessory, which the shop also carries. 1885 N. Clybourn Ave., 800-472-1885
Since 1994, Larkspur owner Beth Barnett has been providing floral arrangements for such well-known establishments as Ralph Lauren’s flagship store on Michigan Avenue and RL Restaurant. A true flower aficionado, Barnett began growing her own blooms a few years ago on 20 acres of Michigan farmland. 2123 N. Damen Ave., 773-489-2898
Mariano’s Fresh Marke
t Not your average market florist, Mariano’s Fresh Market offers dozens of varieties, from classic European blossoms to premium roses in every color. Although the market’s design team specializes in creating trendy arrangements, they also work wonders with more traditional combinations. 333 E. Benton Pl., 312-228-1349; 3350 N. Western Ave., 773-327-2093
A New Leaf
This Old Town original has an impressive 38-year track record, during which owner Marion Parry has cultivated a classic—some might even say old-school—aesthetic. The shop’s three locations guarantee that you’ll never be too far to try turning over a new leaf. 1645 N. Wells St., 312-642-1576; 1818 N. Wells St., 312-642-8553; 312 S. Dearborn Ave., 312-427-9097
A Perfect Event
Owner Debi Lilly’s event-planning business is also a full-service florist that has provided arrangements for the Oprah Winfrey Show and a number of top hotels. And Lilly’s expertise stretches far and wide: She now offers a line of products and arrangements at Dominick’s grocery stores. 3050 N. Lincoln Ave., 773-244-9333
Owners Shana Price and Allison Denny provide a retail space/design studio under one roof, and take pride not only in their unique arrangements, but in the business itself, which is owned and run solely by women. 850 N. Ashland ave., 312-243-4470
William H. Macy gets dapper in this behind-the-scenes exclusive.