Made In Chicago: Roeser's Bakery

Bob Roberts
April 16, 2018 - 9:18 am
Roeser's Bakery

WBBM Newsradio/Bob Roberts

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Not many businesses operate from the same location for more than 100 years. Roeser's Bakery has -- and generations of Humboldt Park residents have devoured desserts ranging from strudels to wedding cakes -- each of them Made in Chicago.

Four generations of Roesers have operated the bakery at 3216 W. North Avenue, each named John. What would great grandpa say if he came back?

“He would say, 'What the heck are you guys doing?' Because back then, we made so much bread. It was all sweet rolls, coffee cakes and bread," John Roeser said.

Back in the day, Roeser said many of the bakery's customers had no refrigeration, and they would line up for coffee cakes in the morning, hard rolls for sandwiches at lunch and cake for dinnertime desserts.

He said each generation has brought change. First it was German and Danish immigrants, then Poles and other east Europeans, and since the '70s, Puerto Ricans. He said each prompted Roeser's to expand its offerings.

“We just kept it all," he said of the bakery's offerings. "We have a little bit of something for everybody."

Roeser said he's not interested in moving, that expansion raises quality issues and online retail won't work because he won't use preservatives. He's thankful for loyal customers and employees.

“My family really appreciates it," he said. "We've been here a long time and we look to be here for another 100 years.”