Don't worry: You'll still be able to get all the pastries you've come to love, but Fritz Pastry has been sold. At least it's staying somewhat in the "family," as Wormhole Coffee owner Travis Schaffner, who has carried Fritz baked goods at the cafe since it opened, bought the Lincoln Park bakery. The sale took place back in April, but news of it just came out this week.
The news was surprising, but former owner Elaine Heaney said that she and her husband, Nathaniel Meads, sold Fritz to spend more time concentrating on their family. "Nate and I have always worked long hard hours in the restaurant industry, but owning our own pastry shop, which begins baking at 1 a.m. daily, and is open 7 days a week for 11 hours a day, is a whole different story," Heaney said. "We were as happy as we've always been and cherished every moment of it, but running the shop makes our years in the restaurant industry seem like a vacation."
Heaney and Meads are expecting their second child this winter and felt that keeping the shop and the busy pace would be selfish. But anyone concerned that Fritz will change shouldn't be too worried. Meads will continue on as executive pastry chef through the end of the year, while Heaney will stay on as general manager through the same time.
"It is very important to all of us, especially Travis, that Fritz Pastry continue as Fritz Pastry, as far as the food goes," she said. Heaney added that they've become quite close with Schaffner and plan to remain involved in Fritz, likely as consultants.
Meanwhile, Schaffner has already started making small changes, and will likely do more major additions starting this fall. From the looks of it, everything seems on track only to enhance what Meads and Heaney have already built. Schaffner started serving Metropolis Coffee at Fritz, will move the old Wormhole espresso machine to the bakery and has started training the baristas there.
This fall, Schaffner is hoping to add French bistro-style dinner service at Fritz four nights a week. He's thinking about doing some physical changes to the space, including changing the front, adding bench seating around the windows and making it generally more community oriented. As for Meads' eventual replacement, Schaffner has been talking to some of Heaney's former colleagues, many of whom live on the West Coast. Fortunately they have time to find the right person.
Schaffner has also started exclusively selling Fritz pastries and sandwiches at Wormhole. He's also thinking of opening a second Wormhole, likely in Northern California, possibly next year.
· Space, Time, Pastries Converge at Wormhole [RedEye]
Samantha Lande contributed additional reporting to this story.
Fritz Pastry [Photo: Go Take a Nap]