Plein Air Café and Eatery

//Written by Caryssa Lim//

Plein Air is a French phrase, meaning “in the open air,” and the expression perfectly captures the aura of the newest café addition to the Hyde Park community. Offering a warm, relaxed environment, Plein Air Café and Eatery’s French-inspired décor and ambient lighting create an ideal space for conversation or study.

For days when I really have to get a lot of work done and need a caffeine boost, I turn to Plein Air’s long list of coffees and teas. The café offers a variety of coffee options, from traditional drip and pour-over coffees to the more exotic nitrogen-infused, cold-brewed coffee and house-made chai. I appreciate a stronger coffee than most and a strong spice flavor in my chai, and Plein Air’s offerings definitely did not disappoint.

While Cobb, Harper, and the Div School all offer the same variety of foods from local vendors, Plein Air’s food options really are refreshing and unique. The food at Plein Air reflects its mission to provide an environment where guests “can savor coffee, food, and design.” I recently tried their Plein Continental Breakfast and was pleasantly surprised at the artistic design of the plate that was placed before me. Offering a wide variety of foods from breakfast and brunch to salad bowls, baguettes, and pies, Plein Air crafts a menu that can satisfy a range of palates.

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Plein Continental Breakfast – Photo credit:

The owner of Plein Air, Soo Choi, has also collaborated with Chicago’s famous Pleasant House Bakery to sell their savory pies in the café. Hyde Park residents can now taste these golden-crusted and flaky pies right around the corner in the Seminary Co-Op instead of trekking all the way to Bridgeport.

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Spinach Royal Pie – Photo Credit:

Of course, I can’t talk about Plein Air without mentioning my favorite go-to baguette: the prosciutto manchego. A French baguette is generously topped with arugula, manchego, cured ham, and a lightly sweet fig jam – it’s the perfect combination of sweet, savory, and fresh.

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Cured Ham, Preserved Fig & Arugula Baguette – Photo Credit:

All in all, Plein Air brings a new aura and a refined menu to the Hyde Park café scene and truly offers a great space to enjoy quality food and drink.

Plein Air Café and Eatery
Neighborhood Hyde Park
Address McGiffert House: 5751 S. Woodlawn Ave. Chicago, IL 60637
Phone (773) 966-7531
Hours M-F 7:00 AM – 8:00 PM; Sa – Su 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Price Range $5 – $15
Other No Reservations. Accepts Credit Cards.

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