'They come in happy, and they leave happy': TikTok-famous Wake-n-Bakery opens in Northbrook

One door closes, another opens.

A long-standing bakery closes, a hip, new, “TikTok-famous” one opens.

Wake-n-Bakery, a franchise of a popular coffee shop and bakery in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood, opened Feb. 7 at 2776 Dundee Road, Northbrook.

It's in the spot formerly occupied by Leonard's Bakery, which closed in May 2020 after 34 years in Northbrook and 112 years overall. Several Leonard's recipes may still be purchased at Once Upon a Deli, 2774 Dundee Road, right next-door to Wake-n-Bakery.

Wake-n-Bakery, which plans a larger grand opening with customer promotions on March 4, occupies a 2,560 square-foot space. The front of the house, about 600 to 700 square feet, is dedicated to the coffee shop and its array of housemade baked items. All items are takeout, no customer seating.

The husband-and-wife ownership team of Eric and Waylet Harper modernized the space. Freshly painted walls, with murals created by a Chicago artist known as Graffiti Nerd, enliven the interior.

“He's really popular,” said Eric Harper, a Loyola Academy graduate who maintains his job with a telecommunications company. Waylet left her banking position to devote her energy to Wake-n-Bakery.

The shop's pastries, brownies, muffins, scones and more all are made on-site. Wake-n-Bakery sells lemonade, tea and coffee drinks, the coffee coming from another popular Chicago institution, The Coffee & Tea Exchange just down Broadway Street from the Lakeview Wake-n-Bakery. Savory items such as macaroni and cheese are planned to be introduced in the future.

“We're very excited, very appreciative of Northbrook allowing us to have a business in Northbrook. We appreciate them. We're looking forward to bringing the fun to the 'burbs,” said Eric Harper, whose business already is a member of the Northbrook Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

The hook with Wake-n-Bakery is its products are infused with federally legal Delta-8 THC. Delta-8 THC has a molecular structure slightly different from Delta-9 THC, the more psychoactive compound in marijuana. Customers may also choose products that contain cannabidiol (CBD).

The website describes Delta-8 as a gentler option “that lets the user relax and decompress.”

“Some folks will take Delta-8 products and there will be no effects; some folks will take Delta-8 products and there will be an effect. Everybody's body reacts differently,” Eric Harper said.

Customers may also order any drinks with or without the compound, which a barista dispenses into a drink with a dropper.

The business checks identification of all customers who buy a Delta-8 product, and those customers must be 21 or older.

“it's no different from the liquor store in the same plaza with us two doors down. We all have to be responsible and make sure we follow all the rules in carding individuals to purchase,” Harper said.

“We're going to be responsible corporate citizens, and we're going to do the right things.”

He said the Chicago location has never had any incidence of violence or trouble.

Wake-n-Bakery is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and for the remainder of February from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

The plan is to stay open to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays starting in March, and eventually operate until 10 p.m. on those days.

“Most people are very excited to be in the shop,” Eric Harper said. “They come in happy, and they leave happy.”

  Waylet and Eric Harper are the owners of Wake-n-Bakery, which opened in the former Leonard's Bakery space in Northbrook. Wake-n-Bakery's goodies are infused with a federally legal form of THC or CBD. Joe Lewnard/
  Waylet Harper arranges items at Wake-n-Bakery in Northbrook. The baked goods are infused with a federally legal form of THC or CBD. Joe Lewnard/
  Cupcakes and other THC-infused items are displayed in the case at Wake-n-Bakery in Northbrook. Joe Lewnard/
  Cupcakes infused with a federally legal form of THC are among the items available at Wake-n-Bakery in Northbrook, which opened in the former Leonard's Bakery space earlier this month and will celebrate a grand opening March 4. Joe Lewnard/
  A THC-infused blueberry muffin is among the items available at Wake-n-Bakery in Northbrook, which plans a grand opening celebration March 4. Joe Lewnard/
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