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An Ex-Grace Pastry Chef Opens His Andersonville Bakery to Explore Scandinavian Roots

The story behind Lost Larson is a personal one

Cardamom buns and more are served at Lost Larson.
Lost Larson/Instagram
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

Bread lovers will want to get to Andersonville today where a new bakery, Lost Larson, officially opens to the public. Owner Bobby Schaffer has opened his own bakery cafe after working as a pastry chef at Michelin-starred restaurants Grace and Blue Hill at Stone Barns in suburban New York. Expect a rotating selection of breads, open-faced sandwiches, croissants, cardamom buns, scones, and more.

Schaffer wants to ensure the cafe doesn’t run out of fresh-baked goods throughout the day. He doesn’t want to sell a customer a pastry that’s sat in a display case for a long time. The menu will constantly change with seasonal pastries that use fruits “at the peak of ripeness.” He wants to honor traditional ways of baking, to bring back longer fermentation times which he said leads to better flavors and nutrition.

When it comes to the bakery’s name, Schaffer shares a tale about his paternal grandfather. He never met the man, but apparently — when his grandfather was in his 20s — he stole his boss’s name and passed that name, “Schaffer,” down to the family: “What I do know is that he was Danish, a ‘Larsen.’ That’s about it,” Schaffer wrote.

But the story doesn’t end there. Schaffer said he recently learned that his great grandfather on his mother’s side was named Lars Larson: “So what do you know, two Larsons?” he said. Should make me a full Larson, but here I am a Schaffer.”

Lost Larson
Barry Brecheisen

These stories only came up as he began looking at the Andersonville space. The neighborhood has a Scandinavian history, and Schaffer began diving into his own roots — Russian, English, Irish, Danish, and Swedish.

“But what did any of that mean — I mean I never grew up eating grandma’s cinnamon rolls or freshly baked limpa bread,” Schaffer wrote. “So here I am, discovering the traditional baked goods of Sweden while learning more of my past.”

Schaffer will continue to find ways to keep busy other than running a new restaurant. Later this month, he’ll help prepare a special dinner at the Museum of Contemporary Art that brings together LGBTQIA artists to raise money for the Center on Halsted in Lakeview. The center helps to advance the LGBTQIA community through health and well being initiatives and programming. Along with Marisol’s Sarah Rinkavage and Alexandra Wright of the upcoming Logan Square cocktail bar X, Schaffer will participate in Eating Rainbows: An Eye Eaters Society Dinner Celebrating Pride, which takes place on Monday. Tickets can be had at the link.

For those who can’t make the dinner, they can always visit the bakery for a taste of Schaffer’s history. Lost Larson is now open in Andersonville.

Lost Larson, 5318 N. Clark Street, (773) 944-0587, open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday through Sunday.

Lost Larson Bakery

5318 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640 Visit Website