Throughout Wicker Park and beyond, hearts shattered when breakfast and lunch darling Birchwood Kitchen closed its doors last October. Well, spring is a time for new beginnings and as such, a fresh tenant aims to breathe life back into the space at 2211 West North Avenue next season.

Longtime friends Nancy Silver and Chris Pappas are behind the yet-to-be-named project, and they’re both kind of a big deal: Pastry pro Silver has a résumé that includes Blackbird and Charlie Trotter’s. Most recently, she’d been churning out her own line of ice cream, Snookelfritz, selling it at farmer’s markets, and toying with the idea of opening an ice cream shop.

Pappas, who currently owns the Winchester and formerly served as general manager of Sepia, approached Silver over the holidays with the idea of collaborating. Since then, the two have worked fast and furiously to plan a casual, European-inspired café where sweet and savory pastries take center stage, and a full food menu, plus wine, apértifs, and housemade ice cream mean there’s reason to drop by any time of day or evening. “We both loved the idea of a place that could be a lot of different things, which is something you see overseas more than here,” says Silver, who adds that she has worked abroad and both she and Pappas have traveled extensively.  

Though Silver and Pappas plan to add a small bar and make some aesthetic tweaks, much of the space will remain unchanged. You have to think good ol’ Birchwood would have wanted it this way.