Published in the Chicago Tribune April 2, 2015
Enjoy flavorful sandwiches, cheeses, meats, savory bites and desserts carefully paired with wine, beer and spirits at Preservation Bread & Wine in Geneva, a come-as-you-are contemporary American artisan staple on Third Street.
“Our goal is to encourage people to feel all right by being themselves,” said proprietor Lawrence Colburn, owner and operator of Preservation Bread & Wine. “It’s an artistic project for me to produce high-level, quality food with a community feel. It’s like eating dinner with your neighbors every night of the week.”
Here’s the scoop on this unique, contemporary spot.
What’s on the menu? Whether you’re hankering for a casual lunch, romantic dinner or a decadent dessert, Preservation Bread & Wine offers a plethora of savory, comforting choices. From cold sandwiches, warm sandwiches, salads, soups, flatbreads, savory bites and desserts, chances are you’ll find something on the menu that everyone can enjoy.
About the owner: Lawrence Colburn is a restaurateur via art school. After working many years as a sommelier at Chicago hot spots, Colburn would ride the Metra and take trips with his daughter, Ella. After exiting the Metra train station at Geneva one day, Colburn found himself spending weekends in Geneva because he found the atmosphere quite unique. “The tone of life is nice and flows right here,” said Colburn. He wanted to offer diners sandwiches in this community. “I told a friend I was opening a restaurant in Geneva,” Colburn said, “I told him we were going to do sandwiches. My friend laughed, but like with everything, if you’re going to do something, you have to do it right, and do it best.”
Mission statement or philosophy: “Our philosophy is to bring our guests the simple side of delicious,” said Colburn. “I’ll never sell to a corporate entity. It’s not tricky, it’s not flashy, and it’s executing everything we do on a high level and focusing on the food.”
The décor: Preservation Painted tin ceiling and dark woods boast casual elegance, as does the exposed brick, original artwork, beautiful natural light and comfortable upholstered seating. It’s upscale but relaxed, formal but not stuffy. Simple, tailored and comfortable — like being at home. In the back of the restaurant, there is a four-season room with radiant heat floors in a beautiful, patio-like setting all year round.
Food specialties: Charcuterie and cheese platters are one of the highlights at Preservation Bread & Wine. All cheese plates are carefully chosen in an attempt to curate styles of cheeses or regions according to palate. All plates, not just the cheese plates, can be paired with an excellent wine, thanks to Colburn’s sommelier background.
From savory small bites like duck rillettes served alongside toasted baguette with a shallot marmalade, to comforting sandwiches like a 3-year white cheddar grilled cheese on flaky brioche, to salads like the winter vegetable salad with turnips, golden beets, Brussels sprouts, topped with peptitas, oranges, and a white balsamic vinaigrette, to entrées like short rib roast with carrots and cipollini onions topped with a soft-yet-crispy puff pastry, there are plenty choices on this menu. The chocolate espresso tart is a well-balanced, not too sweet dessert made with an almond flour and espresso crust, filled with chocolate, and topped with fresh whipped cream and chocolate shavings.
We’re different because: Colburn and the community make the difference at Preservation Bread & Wine. Colburn can be seen answering phones, interacting with guests, and is always welcoming. The restaurant is full of regulars who will casually strike up a conversation with one another. You don’t have to worry about a scalding plate because it has been sitting under a heat lamp for an extended amount of time.
Extras: On Wednesdays, Preservation Bread & Wine offers a flatbread special and $20 bottles of wine. In the warmer weather months, they offer patio seating. A food and wine pairing event occurs the second Monday of every month. They offer two seating times — 6 and 8 p.m. Reservations are required in advance for the food and wine pairing.
Price range: Plates range in price between $6-$13. Four to five plates (including dessert) is highly recommended for a hungry party of two.
Logistics: Preservation Bread & Wine is located at 513 South Third Street in Geneva, steps away from the Geneva Metra station. They are open Tuesday through Saturday for lunch and dinner. For more information, visit
Preservation Bread & Wine
513 South Third Street, Geneva