Digital Access

Digital Access
Access from all your digital devices and receive breaking news and updates from around the area.

Home Delivery

Home Delivery
Local news, prep sports, Chicago sports, local and regional entertainment, business, home and lifestyle, food, classified and more! News you use every day! Daily, Daily including the e-Edition or e-Edition only.

Text Alerts

Text Alerts
Choose your news! Select the text alerts you want to receive: breaking news, prep sports scores, school closings, weather, and more. Text alerts are a free service from, but text rates may apply.

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters
We'll deliver news & updates to your inbox. Sign up for free e-newsletters today.

New book brings Meatloaf Bakery to your kitchen

I’ve heard it happen a number of times. When people first learn of the Meatloaf Bakery in Chicago’s Lincoln Park, they ask, “There’s a meatloaf bakery?” It is as if the idea that the quintessential comfort food could actually be the basis of a whole shop is ludicrous, too much to ask for.

Yet there it is, at 2464 N. Clark St., where owner Cynthia Kallile has been dishing up several versions of the hearty dish since 2008. And now, she’s sharing her creations with a wider audience through “The Meatloaf Bakery Cookbook: Comfort Food With a Twist” (Adams Media, $19.95). It’s a handsome volume, with photos of every dish (so rare these days and so frustrating when you want to know just how a dish is supposed to come out), plus behind-the-scenes shots of the shop and its food truck, the Meatloaf-a-Go-Go.

In an opening that’s helpful to the novice, Kallile explains the structure of a basic loaf – the meat (she touts a classic blend of beef, veal and pork, but also includes lamb, poultry and salmon or tuna), filler (breadcrumbs, though she is partial to crushed butter cracker), binders (eggs and dairy) and flavorings (spices, vegetables). It’s a primer that encourages a build-your-own point of view. She then describes one of the most important aspects of meatloaf construction, mixing, emphasizing to use your hands but don’t overmix.

The 66 recipes are divided among meatloaves (more than 30), sides and sauces. Though some border on too cute (loafer pops, essentially meatballs on a stick, like a savory cake-pop, and loafies, essentially meatballs, sans stick), most are convincing arguments for straying from your house favorite – from her mom’s recipe to loaves based on Thai, Cajun, pizza, Reuben-sandwich or barbecue flavors.

Just as Kallile takes her meatloaves beyond your mom’s, she also goes further with the classic side, mashed potatoes. For Kallile, the potatoes go on top to dress up what she calls a sometimes not so pretty dish. And they go on top of nearly every loaf (and those without have a special glaze or salsa or other accompaniment), and not just a basic mashed, but varieties matched to the loaf beneath: caraway-horseradish smashers for the Reuben loaf, garlic spuds over the Cajun. For pans, she goes beyond the loaf, putting some recipes in muffin tins, pie plates, layer cake pans, sheet cake pans and pot pie pans.

The recipes can be long on ingredients, yet don’t let that put you off as most either require quick prep (chop some onion, carrots, parsley) or represent small amounts of multiple herbs or condiments you have in the cupboard. And if you don’t, you could leave them out or make substitutions. When making the sassy turkey sausage meatloaf cupcakes (a ground turkey and turkey sausage combo) as a spur-of-the-moment project, I was forced to leave out the carrots and red bell pepper. The mini-loaves came out fantastic.

That result speaks to the malleable nature of Kallile’s subject and of her recipes. Is it too much to make the meatloaf and the potato-topper and the sauce? No problem. Just make the loaf. Try a few varieties, and pretty soon your kitchen will be the meatloaf bakery.


©2013 Chicago Tribune

Visit the Chicago Tribune at

Distributed by MCT Information Services


PHOTO (from MCT Photo Service, 202-383-6099): MEATLOAF-BAKERY-BOOK

Loading more