Scafuri is an Italian bakery in the heart of the old neighborhood on Taylor Street. And for something this old, it has recieved scant attention on LTHForum. I put it into the search engine here and only a few mentions, and really nothing of the fare--as if people *knew* about the place, but no one knew about the place. Perhaps, I can correct that.
There are two impressions one gets upon entering Scafuri. One, what, the pessimist impression, might be put off by the enormous spaces between offerings. And the Italian bread does look a bit sad. They might not get anything at Scafuri. On the other hand, the bright-siders, will notice that there are two or three pastries that are so intensely hand made, so real looking. And the Italian woman, house dress and all running the show, straight from a cameo in a Scorsee flick, makes you feel quite at home. Be an optimist.
I've only tried a few things so far, but they are all as special as they look. Scafuri makes a bunch of pastries with a very short dough, do not tell the trans fat police, but this stuff is highly delicious. As I note above, it tastes like Momma made it, not a professional baker. Inside this dough comes various packages including a light sweet cheese. I've found the "strudel" highly addictive. I note this strudel is shaped long like a strudel, but the package is not a true strudel (i.e., from filo type layers). Still good.
Scafuri is a long way from being the best (surely not the best stocked) bakery in Chicago, but should be on your short list of places to try.
1337 W. Taylor St.