Store offers ways to spice it up in Hinsdale
David Trout had no retail experience when he opened Savory Spice Shop in HInsdale last October. The response to the store has been great, he says. | Kimberly Fornek~Sun-Times Media
400 dried herbs and spices
More than 140 custom seasonings
60 salt-free seasonings
Seasonings that are organic and free of gluten and msg
More than 20 extracts, including black walnut, coconut and maple
Various flavors of vanilla bean sugar
Different kinds of curry
Ghost pepper salt, described as “the second hottest pepper in the world.”
Paul Virant, award-winning chef at Vie restaurant in Western Springs and Perennial Virant in Chicago, will demonstrate how to preserve foods, and then sign copies of his new book, The Preservation Kitchen, starting at 10 a.m. Aug. 18.
Updated: September 17, 2012 6:06AM
HINSDALE – David Trout was new to retail when he opened Savory Spice Shop in Hinsdale last year.
He was looking for a business opportunity and Savory Spice, a company started in 2004 in Denver, was expanding with franchises across the country.
Because Trout and his wife, Darice, had lived in Colorado, they were familiar with the concept, a shop that sells hundreds of spices, sugars, extracts and hand-blended seasonings that are prepared weekly in small batches.
Although the family lives in Roselle, Trout decided Hinsdale would be a good location for the spice shop.
“It had some great complementary businesses, a wine shop and boutiques, it just felt right.”
Trout said business has been great since opening the store, at 42 S. Washington St., with partners Derek and Angel Allen.
“People come in all the time and say their friends said they had come to here,” he said.
At 1,700 square feet, it’s one of the biggest Savory Spice Shops, with ample room for 400 dried herbs and spices and 140 hand-blended seasonings.
The seasonings are sold in amounts as small as a half-ounce, “enough to make one meal or just to try it out,” Trout said. “If you need pounds of it, we can do that as well. In any case, you get exactly what you need.”
“Our freshness is unparalleled,” Trout said. “We always grind from whole spices and they never sit around in ground form.”
Their customers include both gourmets and the family cook.
“That’s the beauty of our blends,” Trout said. “If you are trying to spiff up what you’re doing for meals to keep the family interested, they give you a nice rotation. And they add no calories.”
“The taco seasoning is probably one of our most popular,” Trout said. “It’s all natural, there are no numbers in the list of ingredients.”
Jackie Handzik, who lives in Lockport, but works in Hinsdale, stopped in for another jar of Extra Hot Jamaican Jerk, a combination of habanero chiles, Mediterranean thyme, toasted onion salt and other spices.
“I put this on anything and everything,” Handzik said.
Free copies of recipes are placed near the spices and herbs they include.
“We provide recipes for a variety of dishes, from really easy stuff to things that are a little more challenging,” Trout said.
College students like the variety, said Diane Wrobel, a private chef who works in the shop. Seasonings are “easy to store in the dorm and they can change up their chicken or tuna salad.”
Also popular are cacao nibs, “cocoa in its rawest form,” Trout said.
“It has become very popular because of the health benefits,” Wrobel said.
Similarly, people are buying cinnamon for their health.
“The difference in cinnamons is incredible,” depending on where its grown and whether its from the bark of a cinnamon or cassia tree, she said. “We do cinnamon tours.”
Sixty to 70 percent of the customers who buy cinnamon want it to add to their oatmeal,” Wrobel said.
The store also sells gift sets of baking ingredients, spices for seafood, pasta, meat, and holiday meals; and different kinds of cocoa, dips, and salad dressings. They range in price from $21 to $77. One set includes all the ingredients for a Bloody Mary, except the alcohol.
“If I could come up with a powered vodka, it would make the Bloody Mary set complete,” Wrobel said.