After a very slight delay, Lost Larson is poised to open its hotly anticipated Wicker Park location on Wednesday, December 30 at 2140 W. Division Street. It’ll be owner and pastry chef Bobby Schaffer’s (Grace) third outpost for the immaculately designed bakery that’s accrued hordes of passionate fans across the city. He also operates the original location in Andersonville and a stall in the temporarily shuttered Time Out Market Chicago.
The pandemic has wreaked havoc on nearly every corner of the hospitality industry, but Shaffer has found that customers keep showing up for his menu of treats like cinnamon rolls and lingonberry almond cake. He likes the idea of serving a neighborhood, mimicking the way European towns rely on their local bakeries to enhance day-to-day life. “Baked goods and pastries are a small luxury that people can still take part in,” Schaffer says. “It’s not a full meal, but a little part of your day that can brighten things up.”
The Wicker Park shop inside the former Purple Llama record store and coffeeshop will offer the same selection of breads and baked goods as the original. Schaffer leaves room for the possibility that he may introduce a few new specials there too. While there are a few ovens at the new Division Street space, most of the baking will take place in Andersonville before items are transported elsewhere.
There are a few key differences in the new spot: Schaffer plans to hold off on introducing the savory smørrebrød (Danish open-faced sandwich) menu until pandemic restrictions ease up a little. He’s also not planning to feature the wine dinners he launched last year — he found it impossible to get a liquor license for the new address — but will bring the events back to Andersonville “at some point.”
Personnel has also somewhat changed. Schaffer’s sister Bree, a Stumptown alum who directed drink operations, has left the business to focus on visual art. Coffee fiends will still be able to get their fix, as the Wicker Park shop will feature a sleek espresso machine from Dutch company Kees van der Westen and new drinks such as peppermint matcha lattes.
When indoor dining resumes, the 1,000-square-foot cafe will be able to seat 14 between counter stools and bistro tables in the back. Schaffer aims to make a patio a key feature of the space, with front doors that open completely to create an indoor-outdoor feeling. It’ll seat 16 outside.
Operations are still on pause at Time Out Market Chicago, the enormous food hall in Fulton Market, due to the pandemic. The Wicker Park opening gives Schaffer a chance to bring back workers displaced in the hall’s closure. Still, he says, he has every intention of returning when Time Out Market reopens.
Lost Larson Wicker Park, 2140 W. Division Street, Slated to open Wednesday, December 30.