Growing up in the Chicago area, we all had our favorite places that no longer exist or products that were made or created here. Maurice Lenell is one of those places.
From those amazing Pinwheel cookies to the Almonettes, Raspberry Jelly Swirls and others including those great cookie tins that were loaded with a variety of cookies all made here in the Chicagoland area. Using butter, cardamom, saffron, nutmeg, almond and other ingredients for recipes from their homeland, their bakery quickly grew and after a few years, was reorganized to focus on its popular cookies that helped make them the historical figures they’d become.
In the beginning, Lennel cookies began to create their magic in 1925 by Swedish brothers Hans and Gunnar Lenell, they’d begin to make history at 4349 North Avers Avenue in Chicago.
In 1937, a friend of theirs, Agaard Billing started the company we’d all learn to love in 1937 and changed the name to “Maurice Lenell Cooky Company.” The name was changed when Hans’ son was born and named Eric Maurice Lenell. Hans thought it just sounded more American than European or Swedish name, thinking it would be easier for people in the United States – besides, why not name a brand after your own child right?
Eventually, they’d move from the Avers location to 4474 North Harlem Avenue in Norridge, ready for business in 1956.
Unfortunately, the company fell on hard times and filed for bankruptcy in 2008.
Take a look back at the store in all its glory below courtesy of a video produced by Chicago Restaurant Daily.
Consolidated Biscuit Company bought Lenell’s equipment and trademarks and promised to continue making the cookies. After some really bad luck and things that happened that were out of their control, they stopped production in 2010 because it was too expensive.
In 2010, Hearthside Foods, a Chicago-based baking company acquired the Maurice Lenell brand. The “Cookie Store and More” opened at 3829 North Harlem Avenue in Chicago in 2010 to serve as the unofficial outlet for the Maurice Lenell brand, but closed its doors in August of 2015.
However, they are now a ‘seasonal business’ and only sell a Christmas Cookie Assortment. They have moved their location to 4701 N Cumberland Ave. Suite 10, Norridge Il 60706. We tried to call the number and got a voice mail that seemed dated back to the past year’s holiday season.Click here to visit their website.
Learn more about this iconic business from days gone by below along with a great feature produced by Chicago’s public TV station, WTTW.
Credits: WTTW and Digital Research Library