When Travis Schaffner (Wormhole Coffee) and chef James Gray (of Philadelphia's Dozen Bakery) took over Fritz Pastry from founding owner Nate Meads (who went to Nellcôte as pastry chef), their first goal was just to keep customers coming in for the things they loved at Fritz— doughnuts, macarons, croissants, and so on. But six months later, Fritz has evolved into a very different place under Gray, whose locavore, farm to table inclinations have come out in a number of directions, whether it's churning his own butter or expanding the savory side of the menu. Calling Fritz a "rustic American bakery," Gray says "I'm inspired by the idea of dialing the clock back and celebrating what it used to mean to eat homemade pastries and desserts." Which to him means not only that they're scratch-made from good local ingredients, but that "there were little differences in each cake and cookie that told you that someone had made this just for you."
Gray's full lineup of offerings seems almost insanely ambitious, but so far, it seems to be working. Some of his new offerings and directions include:
• New doughnut flavors like Samoa (which is vegan— no actual Samoans in it) or Chocolate Bacon (not vegan).
• Working with local farmers (Seedling, Nordic Creamery, Meadow Haven, etc.) and highlighting a different one each month with special dishes made from their produce. June will honor Meadow Haven with a special breakfast scramble featuring Meadow Haven eggs, kale, zucchini, English peas & Le Clare Farms chèvre.
• Hot lunch specials Tuesday through Friday such as mac and cheese, tortilla pie, vegetarian lasagna or mushroom and green bean casserole.
• American-style afternoon tea on Wednesdays and Fridays, beginning May 16. $12 gets you your choice of a tea from Rare Tea Cellars, plus a plate of finger sandwiches, biscuits, small tarts and cakes and more.
• Picnic baskets for Ravinia and Movie-in-the-Park offering a full meal plus dessert for $18, beginning June 1.