Lincoln Square's Café Selmarie to close after 40 years

Café Selmarie, a beloved Lincoln Square restaurant and bakery, will close at the end of April.

Owner Birgit Kobayashi, retiring after 40 years, sold the assets and lease to a local business owner planning to open a café and bistro.

Café Selmarie opened in September 1983 and expanded in 1999.

"We were inspired by European cafés and coffee houses," Kobayashi said in a statement. "We wanted fresh food, made with the best ingredients, served in a warm and inviting setting. While it is bittersweet to be closing Café Selmarie, we are delighted to know that this space will continue to be a place for the community to come enjoy coffee, soup and a great sandwich." 

Kobayashi and her daughter, Connie, said they sought a successor committed to maintaining the establishment's culinary excellence and community spirit.

Café Selmarie | Photo via

The new owner, Andrew Pillman, aims to continue Café Selmarie's legacy as Willow Café & Bistro.

"Cafe Selmarie is a beloved part of Lincoln Square’s culture and history, so we feel honored to have the opportunity to carry on its tradition of great food and hospitality while creating our own unique restaurant," said Pillman. "Once we begin operating as Willow Café & Bistro, we’re hoping to retain some of the same sense of community. We’re looking forward to what’s ahead!"

Kobayashi plans to retire and travel with her husband, expressing gratitude to customers for their support over the years.