Saying goodbye to Dinkel’s Bakery, and remembering other lost Chicago staples

“No one lives forever,” Norm Dinkel said. We know that’s the way the cookie crumbles, but it won’t be a piece of cake to forget Dinkel’s and its savory treats and delectable confectioneries.

SHARE Saying goodbye to Dinkel’s Bakery, and remembering other lost Chicago staples
Butter cookies sit in a case at Dinkel’s Bakery, Tuesday, April 5, 2022. Dinkel’s Bakery will be closing it’s doors after 100 years of operation on April 30.

Butter cookies sit in a case at Dinkel’s Bakery, on April 5. Dinkel’s will be closing its doors after 100 years of operation on April 30.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

The hearts of thousands of sweet-toothed Chicagoans sank Tuesday when they learned that the legendary Dinkel’s Bakery will be closing shop after 100 years.

“No one lives forever,” Norm Dinkel told the Chicago Sun-Times’ Sophie Sherry about the difficult decision to shutter the popular family business, at 3329 N. Lincoln Ave. in Lake View.

We know that’s the way the cookie crumbles, but it won’t be a piece of cake to forget Dinkel’s and its savory treats and delectable confectioneries.

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The news of Dinkel’s April 30 closing will surely lead to long lines as city dwellers and suburbanites flock to the bakery to savor one last bite of the famous breads, pretzels, cakes, doughnuts and pies.

“It’s a bittersweet time,” as Dinkel, the establishment’s president, summed it up.

Dinkel Bakery’s imminent demise has triggered the memory of countless other snack food and dessert staples Chicago has lost.

Maurice Lenell stopped its cookie production here in 2015.

Andersonville’s Swedish Bakery, known for its butter cookies and fruit-glazed cakes, closed its doors in 2017 after 88 years.

And just three years ago, Bridgeport Bakery ceased operation after nearly five decades of serving up paczki, bacon buns, coffee cakes and other pastries.

The casualties also include plants and factories of big-named businesses recognized outside the city and throughout the world.

Frango mints have not been Chicago-made for over 20 years.

Mars Wrigley, earlier this year, announced plans to close its historic Galewood chocolate plant.

The smell of Jays chips stopped wafting through the air when the South Side factory became a casualty of the manufacturer’s bankruptcy in 2007.

And Brach’s Candy factory ended its run on the West Side in 2003.

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Sadly, there are so many more similarly beloved Ma and Pa shops and larger food-production facilities that have disappeared.

While some of the delectable treats these institutions churned out can still be purchased in stores or online, many of the flavors that dazzled our palates have become distant memories.

We can’t sugar-coat it. What a bummer it has been for longtime customers and the employees who put in many hours at these defunct bakeries and factories.

As we bid Dinkel’s Bakery goodbye, it’s also important to remember that Chicago still has plenty of reasons to say “yum.”

The city’s neighborhoods still have so many gems, including businesses that specialize in Mexican, Middle Eastern and Asian goodies, to satisfy our saccharine cravings.

Of the oldies, Lutz Cafe & Pastry Shop in Ravenswood, Old Fashioned Donuts in Roseland and the two North Side Margie’s Candies locations are just a few that come to mind.

We hate to see Dinkel’s go, but we’re grateful the sweet spot was in our town for so long.

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