AVONDALE — As La Farine Bakery & Cafe settles into its new, bigger digs, some are seeing its arrival as confirmation that the Logan Square business explosion may be making its way up Milwaukee Avenue into its northern neighbor, Avondale.
The bakery and cafe quietly opened last week at 2909 N. Milwaukee Ave., a couple of blocks north of the Logan Theatre, Intelligentsia and other developments that have transformed Logan Square into a more hip and bustling neighborhood in recent years.
Hipness wasn't the first thing on owner Rida Shahin's mind when looking for a new location — more space was.
He was forced to shut down the cafe's former Noble Square location to make room for his growing wholesale business, which supplies baked goods for several downtown businesses and hotels, including the Four Seasons and InterContinental.
"It was just too small for what we do," he said.
The new space offers a large front lounge area where patrons can enjoy coffee, soup, sandwiches and all the bread and pastries La Farine is known for.
The fact that Logan Square-style developments seem to be creeping north on Milwaukee Avenue makes Shahin optimistic about his new Avondale home.
"I think it's up and coming," he said. "It's going to be beautiful. I feel very good about the location."
"That's one of things that people have been saying — that Avondale has been coming up, and I certainly agree with that," said Avondale Greater Chamber of Commerce director Dan Pogorzelski. "I think it's awesome, and I'm so glad we have this wonderful new asset [La Farine]."
One nearby resident meanwhile, is so optimistic by La Farine's new location that she's fixing up an apartment in her building for artists looking to visit the area.
Lynn Basa, a 58-year-old painter and teacher at the Art Institute of Chicago, owns the building and art studio across the street from La Farine.
"It's the first new retail business taking a chance on the strip of Milwaukee between Diversey and Central Park," she wrote in an email. "Personally, I think it's going to be such a game changer that I've decided to experiment with turning one of my two-bedroom units into a furnished sublet for visiting artists and others."