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Couple’s second Blackberry Market brings elevated fast-casual dining to La Grange

The cinnamon roll has gotten so popular that co-owner Bob Davidson said, “We’ve actually been looking into shipping because we get a lot of out-of-state requests.” Bob and Anna Davidson’s original Blackberry Market is in Glen Ellyn.

With the success of their Blackberry Market cafe in Glen Ellyn, opening a second location in La Grange was a no-brainer for Anna and Bob Davidson.

“It’s a centralized downtown for a handful of communities. It pulls from lots of surrounding areas that don’t have their own business district,” said Anna Davidson about the setting of the couple’s latest Blackberry Market at 36 S. La Grange Road.

With lots of natural light, full-length windows that open to the sidewalk, tile, wood finishings and copper trim, the cafe has an elevated, urban feel. The thoughtful approach to ambiance extends to the temperature of the light bulbs and playlist.

“[We’re] not just a coffee shop or bakery,” said Bob Davidson, who has a background in branding and advertising. “There is really a creative component with the food that will keep you coming back.”

Anna Davidson, who gave up teaching first-graders to pursue her passion with baking and catering, added: “We make everything from scratch … seasonal, local when we can get them. … Come in for a cup of coffee or get a whole meal.”

Fourteen market sides rotate each month including chicken salad with apples, almonds and currants, tuna salad with dill and celery, blackberry kale salad, fruit salad and a variety of pastas.

One staple is the popular broccoli slaw with broccoli florets, chopped shallots, cranberries, almonds and buttermilk dressing.

Best selling sandwiches include the chicken avocado club, Caprese panini, turkey gouda with sliced apple and chutney and grilled Havarti and cheddar cheese with tomato jam.

The turkey, apple & gouda sandwich, served at Blackberry Market, is made with sliced turkey, apples, and gouda cheese with chutney and greens.
The turkey, apple & gouda sandwich, served at Blackberry Market, is made with sliced turkey, apples, and gouda cheese with chutney and greens.
Brian Rich/Sun-Times

In addition to a rotating daily soup offering, there is an outstanding Italian wedding soup that features handmade meatballs of ground turkey and Italian sausage served in a chicken broth enhanced with fresh dill, carrots, celery and onion.

The Italian Wedding Soup, served at Blackberry Market, is made with savory herbed meatballs, pasta, and vegetables.
The Italian Wedding Soup, served at Blackberry Market, is made with savory herbed meatballs, pasta, and vegetables.
Brian Rich/Sun-Times

Superb pastry selections include a brown butter, sea salt Rice Krispie square, brownies, seasonal scones, overstuffed blueberry muffins and several gluten-free treats.

The cinnamon roll slathered with buttercream icing is the best-selling pastry that has to be baked repeatedly throughout the day.

Pastries baked daily at Blackberry Market in La Grange. Brownies, cookies, muffins, Rice Krispie treats, and cinnamon rolls.
Pastries baked daily at Blackberry Market in La Grange. Brownies, cookies, muffins, Rice Krispie treats, and cinnamon rolls.
Brian Rich/Sun-Times

“We’ve actually been looking into shipping [the rolls] because we get a lot of out of state requests now,” Bob Davidson said.

The couple, friends since childhood when they lived in Arkansas, moved to Chicago for college 25 years ago. After more than two decades in their adoptive home, the pair enjoys making new friends through their businesses.

Bob and Anna Davidson own and operate Blackberry Market in La Grange and Glen Ellyn. In this picture, they are at their La Grange location.
Bob and Anna Davidson own and operate Blackberry Market in La Grange and Glen Ellyn. In this picture, they are at their La Grange location.
Brian Rich/Sun-Times

“We build relationships with our customers and we have people who are here every day. We’re just part of their lives,” Anna Davidson said.

Part of strengthening that community means mentoring a young staff.

“I love working with teenagers; two of my kids are teenagers,” Anna Davidson said. “So a lot of our employees — it’s their first job, so we love giving them a chance. It’s just a big part of who we are.”

Blackberry Market is located at 36 S. La Grange Road in La Grange and 401 N. Main St. in Glen Ellyn. For more information call (708) 571-2221 for the La Grange location or (630) 474-9149 for the Glen Ellyn location. You can also visit www.blackberry.cafe.

Blackberry Market is located at 36 S. La Grange Road in La Grange. 
Blackberry Market is located at 36 S. La Grange Road in La Grange.
Brian Rich/Sun-Times