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Le Pain Quotidien Is Rising in Chicago

The bakery/restaurant chain will open its first Chicago location in the West Loop later this spring.

Baguettes at Le Pain Quotidien’s bakery in New York City   Photo: Shannon Sturgis Photography

The hallowed name of Le Pain Quotidien is scheduled to lead us into temptation starting in April or May, when the Belgium-born, New York–based bakery/restaurant chain opens its first outpost in a Chicago-area colony inside near the Chicago French Market (135 N. Clinton St., West Loop).

Wherever it has a presence, Le Pain Quotidien (“daily bread” in French) follows a similar model, where a central baking facility supplies satellite shops. Alain Coumont, LPQ’s founder, explains that the company grew, yeastlike, out of a desire for better bread. More than 20 years ago, Coumont ran a restaurant in Brussels, and to improve the bread, he took matters into his own kneading hands. He rented a small garage to use as a bakery and acquired bread-making equipment.

“I started to make the bread in a real oven, and you have to fill up the oven,” Coumont says. “One batch is about 300 pounds.” He used some in the restaurant, and then opened a small shop to sell the overage. Soon he realized it made sense to sell coffee and sandwiches. The rest is history repeating itself, in locations such as Washington, D.C., New York, and Paris.

Each location will have 60 to 120 seats, table service, and a takeout counter. The breakfast menu includes items such as pastries, homemade granola, and eggs. Lunch includes soups, tartines, and quiches. Bread arrives several times daily from the central facility, so, in fact, the bread at a place called “daily bread” is actually more frequent than daily. 

Update: The new Le Pain Quotidien will be adjacent to the French Market. (An earlier version of the post stated that it was inside the market.) We regret the error.

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