Old Town is a far cry from Alsace, where Pierre and Michele Zimmermann ran a bakery that had been in the family for 110 years. They sold the place in 2009, hoofed it across the Atlantic, and opened La Fournette, a bright space on North Wells where a visitor may be greeted at the front door with an artful array of breads—a good invitation to a good product. The enormous miche—a classic two-pounder, etched with an "F," that's available in half loaves—had a nice mild astringency, owing to the wild fermentation that leavened it, and a moist, chewy crumb. Other leavened products looked tempting—beer bread, for instance, or an olive fougasse—and those we did try satisfied: croissants in both plain and chocolate were everything they should've been; the slice of baguette underneath gooey tarte flambee was fantastic (so was the topping: sour cream, bacon, and onion); and Berliner-style doughnuts ("beignets" on this menu) came with a sweet raspberry filling and benefited from just a hint of cinnamon sugar on top.
Other selections include streusel-topped brioche—a big portion for such rich dough, but not too bad—sablé cookies that tasted oddly like breakfast cereal, and brightly colored macarons. Pastries not enough? Fine: there's also a lunch and dinner menu that comprises French classics like crepes, croque monsieur, sandwiches with paté or smoked salmon, soups, salads, and a quiche du jour.
1547 N. Wells, 312-624-9430, lafournette.com