A beloved Lincoln Park bakery has been closed for months as the property renovated the space.
Floriole Bakery started 15 years ago as a sole proprietorship in the Green City Market. Four years later, baker Sandra Holl opened a permanent space in Lincoln Park with a cafe. Eventually, Holl kept the cafe open all day and started a wholesale operation that baked bread and pastries for the town’s markets and cafes.
Floriole enjoyed enormous success as one of the city’s first bakeries. Holl won the 2016 Jean Banchet Award for Pastry Chef of the Year. The cafe became a vital neighborhood space for gluten lovers, families with young children in need of a safe haven, and customers with laptops who enjoyed using the sunny space as a place to work with a pie. , a cookie, or some other treat. The buttery, sweet and crispy flaky kouign amann was a particular favorite.
Then the pandemic arrived. Like everyone else, Holl had to rethink his business. Floriole has relied a bit on pre-orders, as customers are not allowed on site. Then the cafe set up a walk-in arrangement with its front checkout terminal blocking the door while customers ordered on the sidewalk. Finally, this summer, Holl closed the bakery for three months to renovate the building according to its new business model: she was going to build Floriole 2.0.
When Floriole reopens to the public on October 7, it will be a smaller, brighter bakery, closer to its roots than the huge operation it had become in early 2020. âI was trying to do more and earn more and to work more, âHoll said. “And then I realized that more is not the best thing for the company or for everyone who works here.”
This means giving up wholesaling altogether and reducing coffee shop hours to five days a week. It also means closing the second floor seating area, reserving it only for special events. The menu will focus more on breads and pastries, with fewer soups and sandwiches. There will, however, be more take out and take out options, a mail order service, and a retail section with specialty condiments and spices from Chicago area businesses. One of the bakers is already working to expand the repertoire of vegan pastry.
The cafe itself will be renovated, with fresh paint and tiles and a new pastry counter. Over the summer when the bakery was closed, Holl took the time to train reception staff in customer service, allergen issues, and computer system use – things for which she didn’t have time when the business was full. swing.
With the shrinking of the company, the staff has also grown from 30 to ten. âIt’s a big loss,â Holl said. âI don’t mean to be flippant about this. A lot of people don’t have jobs because we’ve changed. But Holl believes that with a smaller team, she’ll be better able to serve the employees she has. When the bakery was open at night for bulk baking, for example, it couldn’t be there in person if something went wrong. And during the shutdown this summer, she was able to keep paying everyone’s wages, thanks to $ 460,000 in Payment Protection Plan (P3) loans and a $ 892,000 grant from the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. (FRR); those two things, she says, made all the difference.
And now she’s excited to reopen. Her clients are delighted, too, after three months without their beloved kouign amann. âPeople survive,â Holl says with a laugh, âbut some are sending threatening messages on Instagram.â
Floriole, 1220 W. Webster Avenue, scheduled to reopen Oct. 7.