Vesecky’s Bakery in Berwyn Closes, Leaving Legacy of Eastern European Treats

Vesecky’s Bakery in Berwyn Closes, Leaving Legacy of Eastern European TreatsSource: Google Street View
Richard M. Sullivan
Published on December 06, 2023

In a bittersweet farewell to a century-old culinary tradition, Berwyn's Vesecky’s Bakery has closed its doors, concluding an epic saga of delivering Eastern European delicacies to generations of families. The beloved establishment, nestled at 6634 Cermak Road, announced its last day of operation on Facebook, with crowds gathering as early as 5 a.m. on that final Tuesday to grab one last taste of nostalgia in the form of kolacky, Houska, and other beloved treats. According to the Chicago Tribune, owner Nancy Vesecky revealed the bakery was sold out by 9 a.m., signaling the end of an era.

The decision to shut down wasn't taken lightly; Nancy and her husband David inherited the family business in the early '90s—but as they reached retirement age, they decided it was time to start a new chapter in their lives, one involving travel and quality time with their grandchildren. As Nancy Vesecky expressed to the Chicago Tribune, "We want to do some traveling, we want to spend more time with the family and our grandchildren," she said, and added, "just get to enjoy life a bit."

A fixture in the community since its inception in 1905 and a transplant from Chicago to Berwyn in the 1920s that remained steadfast even as demographics shifted, Vesecky's adapted its menu to include items like Mexican cookies and guava-infused seasonal pastries—a nod to the area's growing Latino population. Customers' loyalty was palpable, with some willing to endure waits of up to three hours to secure their baked goods, hinting at the deep-rooted emotional connection shared with the bakery. For many, like Sam Lavicek from Lake Zurich, who told CBS News, "This is not the kind of thing you can get on the internet," and emphasized, "I want to smell the bread when I walk in."

While the ovens may have cooled and the counters cleared, the Veseckys are considering ways to keep their legacy alive by potentially sharing their coveted recipes with the world. Nancy stated in her interview with the Chicago Tribune, "We’re thinking of selling our recipes, people want us to make a cookbook; we’re still deciding on that," underscoring the challenge of translating large-scale bakery operations to home kitchen proportions.