WICKER PARK — After nearly 20 years in the neighborhood, Red Hen, an artisan bread shop and cafe just a baguette's throw from Wicker Park's main hub is closing on Dec. 15 and has put its storefront up for rent.
"We are happy and had a long run. I will miss the people in the neighborhood and have made a lot of friends here. I have seen families grow up here," said Rose Picchietti, Red Hen Bread's longtime manager and wife of owner Robert Picchietti.
Primarily a wholesaler, Red Hen Bread bakes its artisan breads offsite and supplies loaves to several area restaurants and small grocers.
The Wicker Park cafe, at 1623 N. Milwaukee Ave., opened in 1997.
A sign in the window that went up Monday informed customers that Red Hen would keep its Oak Park location at 736 Lake St. open.
Picchietti said Red Hen's Oak Park cafe, which opened six years ago, is much larger and seats 40 people, whereas the Wicker Park location has just seven stools at a counter overlooking Milwaukee Avenue.
In recent months, Red Hen has been focusing more on its wholesale operation, which played into their decision to close, Picchietti said.
Picchietti said the shop's last day will be Dec. 15 to give the store's seven workers, at least one of whom is relocating to Oak Park, enough time to enjoy the holiday season.
Bekah Smith, 20, a barista that has worked behind Red Hen's front counter for two years, will be going back to school and studying Special Education when the shop closes.
"It's sad," Smith said. "I will miss working here."
The final day for bread orders will be Dec. 13. Those interested in renting the 2,600-square-foot storefront can call 773-908-0684.
Red Hen Bread, 1623 N. Milwaukee Ave. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
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