This week, Laura and Joelle are joined by Bobby Schaffer and Bree Schaffer. Bobby is owner and head chef of Lost Larson and his sister, Bree, is the cafe manager. Lost Larson is a recently-opened bakery and cafe located in Andersonville that aims to honor the the craft of baking by providing a wide assortment of fresh treats including breads, open-faced sandwiches, croissants, scones and more. If you are in need of a savory bite or a sweet snack, head over to Lost Larson at 5318 N. Clark.
And don’t miss Lost Larson on the Andersonville Sweetish Stroll Veruca Salt route, this weekend on Sunday, October 28!
“We looked at a lot of north side neighborhoods, but we fell in love with this neighborhood”
– Bobby Schaffer
Listen to Episode 31 with Bobby and Bree Schaffer!
Here are some references from Episode 32 that you may want to check out:
- Bobby and his sister, Bree, grew up in Western Springs, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago but he now lives in the Bowmanville neighborhood and Bree lives in North Center.
- Bobby has been a pastry chef for 10 years, and he was immersed in the restaurant industry before transitioning to opening up his own shop. Lost Larson officially opened in June 2018. The Andersonville Chamber of Commerce and fellow Chamber members welcomed Bobby and Bree with a celebratory ribbon cutting.
- Bree, who is the cafe manager at Lost Larson, initially got her start in the service industry while attending the University of Illinois, and eventually was encouraged into food running by Bobby while he worked for Grace restaurant. She worked as a bartender there and eventually found herself working with coffee. From there she transitioned to daytime barista work.
- Bobby always wanted to open up a shop in Andersonville, and he remembers as a young adult, envisioning opening a chocolate shop in the neighborhood.
- The name Lost Larson is a nod to their lost last name on both their grandmother’s and grandfather’s side. Bobby and Bree have Swedish and Danish heritage. Their grandfather took his boss’ name (Schaffer) for unknown reasons, and that’s how the name was lost. They also have another grandfather named Lars Larson on the other side of the family, who was Swedish. In many ways, they have been able to reconnect with their Danish and Scandinavian roots after opening here in Andersonville. Learn more about Andersonville’s Swedish history here.
“It’s amazing and surprising to see how much the community has been supporting us”
– Bree Schaffer
- Many baked goods are typically French derived, but Lost Larson embraces Swedish baked goods. Check out the menus.
- Bobby was fortunate enough to be selected for a scholarship in Spain after Culinary School. The program brings young chefs from around the world to learn technique in Spain; the idea was to introduce chefs to the culture, the language, and the style of cooking, Spanish Gastronomy. Even chef’s from Chicago’s acclaimed Alinea visited Spain to learn from the same chefs as Bobby.
- When Bobby came back to Chicago, he landed his job at The Peninsula as a pastry chef. Shortly thereafter, he and the other three members of the pastry team transferred to Grace and helped open Grace.
- Upon taking over the space at 5318 N. Clark, Bobby wanted to make his mill the centerpiece of the shop, encased in a glass case almost like a precious jewel. They focused on a Scandinavian design, clean and beautiful. Bree mentions wanting guests to embrace the “FIKA culture” and really enjoy the time they spend there. The walls are decorated with the art of Noelle Africh. The back patio is also amazing! Make sure to relax out there in nice weather. Plus, the public has noticed too that Lost Larson is a highly Instagramable place – Check out all the action!
- The Lost Larson logo was designed by Sublet Studio. The logo is meant to be “Larson” himself and the shop even sells t-shirts. Bree also puts the call out for any artists interested in making a real mask of Larson. They want to meet you!
- For the breads at Lost Larson, Bobby wanted to capture the greatest amount of flavor. He wanted to show people that bread isn’t bad for you if it’s fermented properly. It takes 18-36 hours to make a loaf. The fermentation helps digest the grain and makes it easier for us to eat. Long fermentation is not a popular technique these days, but it is not a new process. Lost Larson’s bread even lasts longer due to the natural leavening, particularly sourdough.
- The most challenging thing to do at Lost Larson is laminated doughs, which is used to create the flaky layered pastries of croissants, danishes, Tebirkes and more. Customer favorites at Lost Larson include the Cardamom Buns and Lingonberry Almond Cake.
- Bree has been a barista at several coffee shops around Chicago, most recently the Stumptown in West Loop. Bree developed the Lost Larson cafe coffee menu, including the very popular Lavender Latte. This fall, they will feature a single origin hot chocolate, seedling apple cider, and recently spotted on their menu board, a Campfire Latte!
- Bobby’s love of chocolate developed in Spain after working in a bakery there. He became very familiar after working chocolate for eight hours every single day. Bobby was even able to collaborate with Jean Cate of Martha Mae: Art Supplies and Beautiful Things (5407 N Clark) to paint chocolate molds together for Arts Week this past September. Lost Larson is hoping to create a box of chocolates for the holidays that features a six different chocolates themed after Andersonville businesses.
- Bree’s favorite place to get coffee in Chicago is The Wormhole in Wicker Park. Bobby’s favorite restaurant is Lula Cafe; he’s eaten there over 50 times.
- If they could switch places with any business in Andersonville, Bree would switch places with Jean at Martha Mae and Bobby would switch places with Cowboys & Astronauts (1478 W Summerdale).
“We want the people to use the space as a social atmosphere, catch up with old friends, drink some coffee, and more.”
– Bobby and Bree Schaffer