From cakes to cocktails

Starbucks introduced the pumpkin spice latte, or PSL, in 2003. Over the last 16 years, the seasonal sipper has become the coffee giant’s most successfully-marketed beverage to date. Since then, major food brands jumped on the PSL-flavored bandwagon, from Cheerios to Oreo to KitKat. And looking to capitalize on its own PSL fame, this year Starbucks introduce its second-ever pumpkin beverage: pumpkin cream cold brew.

But putting aside fame and fortune, there is absolutely no denying that the flavors of pumpkin, plus warming brown spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and clove, jive perfectly, while signaling the onset of a new season and cooler weather.

Unsurprisingly, a number of Chicago restaurants and bars are playfully embracing pumpkin and spice. Whether an ode to fall, or a whimsical riff off the cultish Starbucks drink, below, 12 places around the city that are getting into the pumpkin and spice spirit.

2. Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab

Over at downtown seafood haunt Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab, chef Justin Diglia has just added a new pumpkin-laced dessert to the menu. Think pumpkin-chiffon pie ($9.95), with pumpkin chiffon and a layer of homemade whipped cream sitting in a graham cracker crust, topped with maple syrup and spiced walnuts.

A slice of pumpkin chiffon pie.
Joe’s Seafood’s pumpkin chiffon pie
 Anjali Pinto

3. Beatrix

Hit up any Beatrix location for partner John Economos’ next-level PSL, the pumpkin cream nitro coffee ($4.85). The caffeinated creation blends nitro coffee with homemade pumpkin and vanilla whipped cream, plus cinnamon and raw sugar.

A small glass is filled with a nitro coffee drink.
Beatrix’s pumpkin cream nitro coffee
 Anjali Pinto

12. Ema

Popular River North Mediterranean spot Ema is offering a fall riff on its famous frozen Greek yogurt dessert. The spiced, seasonal iteration ($7.95) calls for Ema’s signature froyo base plus candied pumpkin seeds. The dessert is also on offer at quick-serve cousin, Rotisserie Ema.

A small copper bowl containing swirled frozen yogurt, topped with pumpkin seeds.
Ema’s fall frozen yogurt.
 Christina Slaton