Corner Bakery Café is one of those establishments that continue to wow no matter how many times you’ve eaten there. The open Panini grills and fresh ingredients prepared in your presence makes the dishes worth every penny and second you spend.
Its greatest milestone is the fact that it relies on fresh ingredients and exquisite artisan bread that can’t be found anywhere else. Corner Bakery Café is a testament to the power of creative passion and mastery entrepreneurship.
It falls above typical fast food chains and just below typical restaurants, categorizing it as a fast-casual establishment that serves some of the best breads and coffee in the business.
History of Corner Bakery Café
Corner Bakery Café was founded back in 1991 by Chicago’s Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises or LEYE group. The earliest menu included freshly baked bread and espresso-based coffee drinks. Customers continued to request additional bread and Corner Bakery Café delivered.
Now the menu has grown to include a wide variety of artisan breads that are creatively crafted they cannot be found anywhere else.
The bakery café began expanding in just two years, being owned by a theme restaurant operator, and it quickly began to grow exponentially. In sight of this, LEYE sold the company to Brinker International in 1995 in order to once again launch a new themed restaurant.
Under the Brinker International umbrella Corner Bakery Café began opening branches out of Illinois and soon there were branches popping up in nearby states. This ownership would last a good ten years until the business was bought by Il Fornaio in 2005.
After the acquisition Corner Bakery Café was placed under the hands of the CBC Restaurant Corporation, an affiliate of the owning company, Il Fornaio. This was when Corner Bakery Café began rebranding itself with a new interior design for its locations, a new logo, and new overall aesthetic to make it more recognizable, fresh, and appealing to a new generation of customers.
Il Fornaio’s control over the company also saw a new venue for Corner Bakery Café: franchising. Soon enough the brand went public and newer franchising policies were introduced to bring the company and individual franchisers closer together.
This was the formula of success that made the bakery-café the stand-out establishment it is today.
By 2011 however, the company again changed hands as it was bought by the Roark Capital Group.
From the time of its inception to its latest change of ownership, Corner Bakery Café has successfully launched 183 branches, with 30 in Chicago, Illinois and another 41 in southern California.
Corner Bakery Café’s Best Sellers
Among their best sellers include the Chicken Pomodori Panini, a grilled sandwich made of 100% natural roasted chicken, fresh spinach, fresh basil, and oven-toasted tomatoes. These are then topped with Provolone cheese and pesto mayo to give a very unique and delicious flavor that only Corner Bakery Café can deliver.
Then there is the Uptown Turkey on Harvest Toast. This is a unique sandwich that features smoked turkey breast with lettuce, avocado, applewood smoked bacon, tomatoes, and mayo. You can also get this with gluten-free bread if you want to really push the health-limits.
Of course you can’t talk about Corner Bakery Café without mentioning their salads and coffee. The hand-roasted coffee is available in Sumatra Decaf, Baker’s Blend, Café Europa, and Hazelnut Cream flavors. One of the most iconic salads, on the other hand, is the Ceasar Salad with All Natural Chicken.
Interesting Facts on Corner Bakery Café
One of the most amazing facts about Corner Bakery Café is that it is one of the few food establishments that allow the customers to affect their menu. Most restaurants and fast food chains pay any attention to the food requests of consumers but this particular bakery-café does and it is because of this that the menu has grown over the years.
Corner Bakery Café also has over 100 different combo items in their menu and all of them feature less than 600 calories. This is a big treat for health buffs because now they can choose well over 100 different food items and still get guaranteed low amounts of calories.
As a matter of fact, the coffee variety from Corner Bakery Café is a standout since they tend to use authentic Italian and French espresso-based recipes more accurately than Starbucks! You’d expect the attention to detail to their sandwiches but to see it also applied to their beverages is one reason why it sells so well.
They also follow a unique style of bringing food to the table – customers order at the registrar but the food is delivered to the table. This might be common in Asia but not so much in the United States where food is either immediately served or is ordered and delivered at the table. This is one of the first times both styles are mixed together to offer convenience and speed to the customers.