AAPI-Owned Businesses in Chicago for Families to Support

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The beauty of Chicago is not just a credit to our stunning architecture and striking lake and river views but to the diversity of the businesses and their owners. May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, making it a great excuse to support AAPI-owned businesses in Chicago to say thank you for their contributions. From a toy store to mouth-watering Asian fusion cuisine, read on and for ideas on how to support your neighbors, friends and fellow Chicagoans during the month of May and beyond.

For Great Sushi & Hibachi

Shinto

Shinto

Zero doubts, one of the most memorable dining experiences for kids is their first hibachi dinner. The food is always piping hot and delicious, the prep performance is engaging and watching your meal come together before your eyes gives you a sense of coziness and connection. The goal of Ron Huang, owner of Shinto, is to create meals that are not only delicious but are visibly representative of the care and focus on quality that goes into making them. If hibachi isn't your thing, you can also order entrees off the menu or choose from a wide range of sushi options. 

Shinto is a great option for making kids feel special on a birthday, so keep them in mind when you're in party planning mode

For Baked Goods

TOUS les JOURS

Even Richard Kim's TOUS les JOURS description will have you hooked: a Korean-inspired French bakery. Drool. TOURS les JOURS specializes in French-Asian-inspired baked goods with a focus on quality ingredients. Their menu includes 300+ bakery goods, including bread, pastries, cakes, desserts and beverages. They bake every day to ensure the freshest products. 

Jennivee’s Bakery

When Jenne Vailoces heard of bakeries refusing wedding cakes to gay and lesbian couples, she rolled up her sleeves and got to work launching Jennivee's Bakery in the Northhalsted neighborhood. As a transgender immigrant from the Philippines, it was important to her to create a business that truly supported and represented the LGBTQ+ community. In her bakery you'll find traditional American offerings and Filipino cakes and pastries. 

For Kids Who Like to Shred

Little Ripper Skateboarding

Looking for a way to keep kids active during the pandemic shutdowns, Logan Square dad Enrico Hufana started Little Rippers Skateboarding. Hufana and other experienced instructors give kids ages 3-14 an introduction to boarding so they have the confidence to safely navigate all skate parks. 

For Your Toy Shopping Needs

Building Blocks Toy Store

Saying Building Blocks is an old-fashioned toy store packed to the brim isn't an exaggeration. Its three locations fill every nook with play-rich, high-quality toys and books. You'll find everything from developmental playthings for babies to science kits that grandparents can't keep their hands off of. Building Blocks is known for its deep selection of Thomas, Brio and Chuggington trains, but you'll also discover lesser-known finds. Owner Katherine Nguyen is passionate about supporting small, local companies.

For Toe-Tapping Fun

Little Miss Ann

Tinybeans-reader favorite, Ann Torralba, is an award-winning touring Kids Musician, former Chicago Public School teacher, veteran instructor at the Old Town School of Folk Music, mom and a first-generation Filipina-American. Under the professional name Little Miss Ann, her music has been featured on Sirius XM Kids Place Live, WXRT Local Anasthetic and NAEYC. She has played everywhere from SXSW, Nashville’ Pilgrimage Festival, and even the Lollapalooza kids stage. Her performance schedule and links to her music can be found on her website.

For Balloon Displays & Party Planning

Bean and Boosh

Add some color and an Insta-worthy display to any celebration with a balloon installation from Bean and Boosh. Their creations range from 50 to 1000+ balloons and can be designed to match any budget, $125+.  

For a Sugar Rush

Aji Ichiban

Forgo the ordinary and take your kids on a tour of Asia via candy. At Aji Ichiban, you can take your pick from thousands of candies and sweet and salty snacks from Asia. The shrimp and squid flavored treats are especially interesting, while the wide range of sweet gummies are sure to be gobbled up in a flash. Customers are encouraged to sample before buying, making shopping for Halloween treats here especially sweet.

2117-A S. China Pl., Chinatown

For Stylin’

AKIRA

You may have shopped in person at AKIRA, but did you know they began as a trendy boutique in Wicker Park? Started in 2002 by Eric Hsueh, Erikka Wang, Sarah Hughes and Gordon Liao, AKIRA offers a full line of women's clothing, footwear and accessories from brands you know and even some of their own private label items. 

They're known for statement-making, trendy pieces, but they have a commitment to always remember their roots and represent Chicago in the fashion world.

For Fusion Cuisine

Seoul Taco

The tastes of Korea and Mexico beautifully meld together at David Choi's Seoul Taco. The menu is small, but big on taste and we highly recommended you try the kimchi fried rice. Seoul Taco has locations in Naperville, Hyde Park, River North and one coming soon in Wicker Park.

Kimski

When Ed and Mike Marszewski were kids, their mother Maria would cook combining their ethnic backgrounds of Polish and Korean. Eventually, the family went on to periodically offer their signature cuisine on the back patio of the family bar and at special events. The brothers own Maria’s Packaged Goods & Community Bar in Bridgeport and they tapped their friend Chef Won Kim to develop Kimski, a counter-service Korean Polish Street Food joint connected to Maria’s. Order food at Kimski’s Wed.-Sun. and enjoy while grabbing a drink at Maria’s.

Mom's

Mom's, brought to you by Kelly Ijichi and Randi Howry, serves Japanese-American comfort food. They experiment with classic dishes while honoring the tradition of Japanese cuisine. They move around a bit in the city experimenting with different concepts, so it's best to check their website to see where you can find them. Mom's is also available for catering. 

 

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