Jazz’e Junque: Chicago’s 1st Cookie Jar Shop

Jazz’e Junque is a store at 1648 W Belmont Ave. that sells cookie jars and kitchenwares such as salt & pepper shakers, utensils, cookbooks, and aprons.  Most of the items on display are vintage cookie jars, but there are newer ones too, though there are usually one each on display even if they appear to be manufactured commercially.  Some of the cookbooks are new and likely to be purchaseable at bookstores, too.  But the store mostly has vintage collectibles: salt & pepper shakers, mugs, kitchen clocks, framed embroidery, etc.  The TV in the store was showing a black and white video of a very old talk show.  The kitchen cabinets and shelves there are vintage as well, but the lady told me she stopped purchasing them because she didn’t have any more room in the store.  She is really friendly and very enthusiastic about kitchen collectibles, especially retro ones.  She said she started collecting cookie jars but kept finding old electronics, and had become more interested in collecting them.  She has a collection of blenders, juicers, toasters, and waffle makers from the ’30s to the ’70s.  She calls the back corner of her store the “museum” because these appliances are not for sale.  Some of them have cloth cords and will burn when plugged in, but she must try out the newer ones because she told me how powerful they are.

The lady said she changes the display every 4 to 5 days.  Some sections are arranged thematically (Pirex, Fireking, Bakelite, Elvis, Pillsbury doughboy, Coca Cola, Flintstones, Snoopy, Christmas, cats, fat chef, etc.) and some are cordinated by colors or textures.

I’ve always wanted to visit this place ever since I saw it on Metromix.  I was having a hard time understanding the practice of collecting, but the store excited me a lot, probably because I like baking and spend a lot of time thinking about kitchenwares.  The items are not at all exhaustive and the owner is not trying to be, as she lets the lack of space restrict the number of the items.

*The store charges you $1 upon entry, refundable with purchase.


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