Co-owners and life partners Ken Miller and Greg O’Neill opened their cheese shop Pastoral in 2004, but even after successful careers in tech and marketing respectively, they couldn’t have predicted the fruition of their little East Lakeview fromagerie. Now with three shop locations—they’re also downtown at Lake and Wabash and at the West Loop’s French Market—they also added a small 40-seat restaurant (Bar Pastoral) opened next to their flagship in October. While they carry artisan cheese from around the world, their best seller is the Prairie Fruits Farms chevre frais from Champaign. Their Midwest cheese platters with seasonal accompaniments and bread highlight the best local components at their peak. Their connection to artisan producers extends to how products are displayed, aged, and explained to reflect and respect their roots. When possible, Pastoral buys cheese from sustainable sources that grow their own feed for small herds of pasture-raised animals, and compost to better grow feed. The downtown shops are convenient and have their own charm, but the original store, with its worn patina and neighborhood sidewalk tables, is the one to visit to eat sandwiches, salads, and of course cheese at their perfect moment of ripeness.
2945 N. Broadway
Chicago, IL 60657