Eaters in East Lakeview will get a special treat this spring: the highly-anticipated bakery and cafe from Michelin-starred chef Iliana Regan. Bunny the Micro Bakery, which the "new gatherer" chef has been planning for months but hadn't revealed the location for, is heading to the ground floor of 2928 N. Broadway, the space that had been pegged for Phil Tadros' Oyster Pail.
"Phil and his wife had been coming in (to Elizabeth) for dinner and I said 'I'm doing this thing, I don't know if you're interested,'" Regan says. "Phil had trouble getting permits (for Oyster Pail). I'm so excited about this and I think I have the perfect space."
That space definitely fits the "micro" aspect of the bakery, according to Regan, who says "I've never seen a space that narrow." It will be counter service and hold 12 seats "if we're lucky." Terming it "raw but ready," she says it only needs bathrooms, floors, equipment, and furniture at this point.
Regan and staff will cook and serve breads, toast, pierogies, doughnuts, pastries, soft serve ice cream, jams, preserves, butters, and cereals. Drinks will include a special pour over blend of Tadros' Bow Truss coffee and possibly house-made sodas.
The style will be extremely casual, Regan says, calling it "the opposite of Elizabeth." Expect plastic forks, parchment bags, and "nothing will be served on plates." Regan is also hoping to hold classes and occasional popup dinners in the space.
Tadros, owner of the rapidly-growing Bow Truss Coffee Roasters, had been working on Oyster Pail since August 2013. He tinkered with parts of the concept, which originally included an oyster focus and craft cocktail bar, at one point planned beer brewed with oysters using Aquanaut Brewing, which he also owns. The city permitting process, difficulty making the basement ADA compliant, combined with local craft brewing laws, delayed the project and eventually caused him to change plans.
"Owning Aquanaut as well as the basement accessibility difficulties made Oyster Pail drag out," he writes in an email, "and then Iliana and I connected a few years ago and she shared her vision for her micro bakery and I asked her if she wanted to partner. My job is to help support her efforts and vision without getting in the way...working with such a super star is a blessing and gift to the neighborhood."
Tadros and Regan are hoping that the "blessing" will open in mid-April, although the chef tempers that with "that probably means early May or June." Stay tuned.