Café Selmarie prepares to shut its doors in 2024, after 40 years in business

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Saturday, November 25, 2023
Café Selmarie prepares to close after 40 years
The owner of the beloved Chicago restaurant and bakery, Café Selmarie in Lincoln Square, is in the ABC 7 kitchen as she prepares to close next year.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- After 40 years, Café Selmarie, a beloved restaurant and bakery in the Lincoln Square neighborhood, plans to close in early 2024. Owner Birgit Kobayashi will be retiring.

The café was founded by Kobayashi and Jeanne Uzdawinis, who met as neighbors on Giddings Street. In September 1983 they created Café Selmarie just down the street from where they lived with their families. They started out in a tiny storefront with a handful of tables serving pastries and coffee, breaking down walls in 1999 to eventually double its size. The café has been a staple on Giddings Plaza, at the heart of the Lincoln Square community. Long before coffee shops were prevalent, the café had the first espresso machine in the neighborhood.

"We have loved being a part of the Lincoln Square community and watching it grow and flourish," Kobayashi said. "We are excited for the possibilities that this space holds for a new business and know the community will welcome them to the neighborhood."

Uzdawinis passed away in 2017. Despite having a truly wonderful staff, Kobayashi said she is ready for a new chapter in her life.

"After cooking and baking for decades, it is time to sit down," Kobayashi said. "I want to travel with my husband and have time to indulge in other interests. We have met so many wonderful people over the years and celebrated birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, graduations with them. We witnessed this sleepy northside enclave blossom into the vibrant, lovely Lincoln Square neighborhood at our front door. We are forever thankful to our customers for their support through all these years."

This holiday season will be business as usual in the bakery, with all of the customer favorites like Stollen, Linzer Torte, Yule Logs, and their famous Eggnog. Customers will have plenty of opportunities to enjoy celebratory meals in the dining room before the business wraps up in early 2024.

Eatz Associates, one of the nation's largest restaurant brokers, is representing Café Selmarie in the sale of its assets, including the lease of the space, commercial kitchen equipment and restaurant furnishings. The Café Selmarie name and recipes will not be sold.