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News Tue Nov 18 2008

Sweet Thang Not So Sweet

sweet thang roscoe villageEarlier this year, Wicker Park's Sweet Thang bakery lost its lease and had to close its doors, Chef Bernard Runo promised to reopen in a new location. And indeed it did, at 2142 W. Roscoe Ave. in Roscoe Village.

Unfortunately, the new Sweet Thang is nothing like the old one. Runo appears not to be involved, as the new location apparently doesn't bake its own cakes and pastries, and prominently features a Chocolate Shoppe ice cream counter.

Wait, does that sound familiar? Oh yes, sounds exactly like the offerings of the late Sweet Occasions chain. And in fact, the new Sweet Thang is in fact a reincarnation of Sweet Occasions, which abruptly closed over the summer in what was later revealed to be a scandal involving unpaid employees, extravagant spending and more. In the comments on a post about the store closures on Edgewater Crime Blotter, a former employee made passing mention of one of Sweet Occasions' owners, Andy Singer, "concentrating on the purchase (with what money, I don't know) and opening of Sweet Thang in Roscoe Village." Reviews in Yelp -- which have been almost universally negative since the new location opened -- seem to confirm it.

Unfortunately, history appears to be repeating. Paychecks began bouncing, and after being confronted on the matter, Singer has closed Sweet Thang.

The employees aren't taking it lying down, however. They have teamed up with the Chicago Interfaith Committee on Worker Issues to stage a protest and press conference on Thursday, Nov. 20 at 3pm in front of the store, demanding payment (full press release follows after the jump). Maybe they can get some money for all the unpaid Sweet Occasions employees, too.

[photo credit: Rachelle Bowden]

Unpaid Workers to Demand Stolen Wages from Upscale Lakeview Bakery


WHO:  Unpaid Workers and Clergy and Community Leaders
WHERE:  Sweet Thang Bakery, 2142 W. Roscoe, Chicago
WHEN:  Thursday, November 20 at 3:00 pm


Workers who helped make Sweet Thang Bakery a success have been denied wages owed to them, with several of their paychecks bouncing, resulting in additional bank fees. After workers alerted the bakery owner on several occasions, the owner closed his café to the public but still maintains his lucrative wedding cake operations.


With support from Lakeview-area clergy and the Chicago Interfaith Committee on Worker Issues, the workers will lead the picket line and a press conference.


"It is an abomination that, in these tough economic times, workers trying to provide for their families should be lead on to continue working for wages they have yet to see," declared Interfaith Workers' Center director Adam Kader.


Visual: Workers, along with community and religious allies, will deliver stale bread and demand more than $9,000 in stolen wages at an upscale Lakeview bakery and the employer's home.

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CC / November 19, 2008 9:55 AM

My friend and fellow fan of the old Sweet Occasions is a community organizer for CICWI--sounds like poetic justice to me!

Kristina / November 19, 2008 10:44 AM

This just makes me angry that I ever gave Sweet Occasions money - the folks at the Damen store were always awesome and lots of fun, so it sucks that they got screwed, but it's awesome that they're doing something about it.

Celeste / November 20, 2008 12:49 PM

I am a fromer vendor of Sweet Occasions once owned by Andy/Eric Singer. He owes me $5,300 from December 2007. I haven't seen dime!

I turned the case over the Cook County's Bad Check Restitution Program to either get my money or have him thrown in jail. Neither happened. People like Andy/Eric and his former life/business partner John Richardson should not be allowed to close their doors and reopen under a different name. Where is our city and county government when we need them?

There talk of a class action lawsuit. Email Jacob below.


Michelle / November 20, 2008 3:07 PM

I hope the employees have more luck than I did at collecting their monies. I am owed $60K from construction at the Andersonville Sweet Occasions location, unfortunately, I (along with MANY others) believed Andy & Johns lies and cannot collect this debt now as the company is out of business. It has taught me to never trust anyone - Sad :(

Khan / November 23, 2009 5:00 PM

The information in the post is nicely written, I always love to read this kind of stuff. The quality of content is really appreciable. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us.
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jeff / April 11, 2011 4:51 AM

Ohh Sad to hear that. They have to pay the workers they work hard to earn that.
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anonymous / May 12, 2011 12:43 PM

Those who need to resolve issues with John Richardson, you can reach him at (708) 712.9833

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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