CHICAGO — After over 100 years, Dinkel’s Bakery, a Chicago staple, will be closing for good at the end of the month.
Owner Norm Dinkel, who has three children, says none of them wanted to take it over and at age 79, he was ready to retire. Employees confirmed to WGN News that they were informed Tuesday of the closure.
“I looked at the mirror and it looked pretty old. I went down to St. Augustine looking for that fountain of youth and I couldn’t find that fountain of youth, so I said it’s time to call it a day,” Dinkel said.
Opened in 1922, the neighborhood bakery, located at 3329 North Lincoln Avenue, has served as a home for sweet snacks for generations.
It is a family business that survived World War, financial turmoil, social upheaval, and a public health crisis.
Dinkel’s grandparents, who hailed from Germany, ran the business, then his father, making donuts, cupcakes, cookies, and cakes from scratch.
“They probably put me to work when I was in diapers,” Dinkel said. “As a little kid, I was working here. I remember at Easter, we would, years ago, make 14,000-18,000 cake lambs for Easter week.
“Bakeries are the heart of the family. That’s just a nice business to be in because we make people smile, we make people have good memories. Weddings, baptisms, confirmations.”
Customers who heard the news shared their memories with WGN News.
‘I remember coming here as a little kid with my great grandmother and picking out a coffee cake on Saturday or Sunday mornings,” customer Carol Buhler said. “She would bring it to my parent’s house and that was our tradition.”
Word of the closure spread quickly after this sign was posted Tuesday and shared on social media.
“It’s really sad to see all these bakeries close and restaurants,” customer Shawna Bruchert said. “Some of the staples of Chicago that have been here for a really long time.”
For Norm Dinkel, he says it’s been quite a run, leaving a legacy behind and a beloved business that anchored the block.
“I’m going to miss my customers. I’m going to miss my staff. I’m going to miss my eating a donut every day,” Dinkel said. “I’m going to miss all that but it’s time.”
The store will close on April 30.