The temporary location for the Central Continental Bakery, which was displaced from its longtime spot in downtown Mount Prospect by a recent fire, has some historical significance for owner Robert Czerniak.
The bakery opened this week at 17 W. Prospect Ave., just a short walk south from the bakery's old location at Main Street and Busse Avenue.
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Czerniak said that before his family opened Central Continental Bakery in 1979, he worked at the former Heinz Bakery, which occupied the storefront right next to the one that's now his temporary home.
"It's kind of ironic that I'm back here," he said Wednesday with a smile. "It's like things have come full circle, in a way."
The Feb. 9 fire that displaced the bakery also destroyed Sakura Japanese Restaurant, 105 S. Main Street, and forced adjacent businesses, including the Mount Prospect Chamber of Commerce, to find new locations.
The village provided the bakery with room inside village hall immediately after the fire, but Czerniak knew he needed a longer-term solution. He considered moving into the vacant Jake's Pizza building on Northwest Highway, but then learned about the space on Prospect Avenue.
"Honestly, this spot has been a godsend," he said. "It's big enough. It's a visible location. It has all the electrical we need. I'm really happy with how it worked out."
The timing was particularly good, he said, because Paczki Fest, the bakery's biggest event of the year, gets under way Friday and runs through Tuesday, March 4 ("Fat Tuesday"). For information, go to centralcontinentalbakery.com.
"It took a lot of work, but we're all set for Paczki Fest," he said. "It will be fun."
As thrilled as he is with the Prospect Avenue site, Czerniak said he would love to reopen in his old location by Easter. He had an engineer inspect the building and it appears to be structurally sound, but Czerniak said he's waiting for fire and insurance investigators to finish evaluating the whole site.
Also working out of a temporary spot these days is Dawn Fletcher Collins, executive director of the Mount Prospect Chamber of Commerce, which occupied a storefront south of Sakura. Collins said the Mount Prospect Public Library, 10 S. Emerson St., has provided her with an office for up to three months.
"The library has been wonderfully supportive, and I'm very grateful," Collins said. "We actually received offers from numerous businesses in Mount Prospect after the fire. We've definitely felt welcomed."