Chicago Cookie World Weeps

Pinwheel plant perishes

The venerable Maurice Lenell Cookie Company - Chicago icon for 70 years and home to the pinwheel - was called "The Can-Do Cooky Company" by Baking Management in 2007. But it can no longer do at its outlet in Norridge, which closes this week and will soon be replaced by a Costco.

The Chicago cookie world weeps.

"Maurice Lenell Cookies are the source of many childhood memories, usually involving the way those bone dry pinwheels, jelly stars and other cookies could soak up a pot of coffee and still crack your teeth if you bit down on them," Chuck Sudo wrote on Chicagoist earlier this year. "Lenell cookies are ubiquitous staples of local homes come Christmastime. In fact, we can't remember seeing them past the holidays in recent years."

"I am heartbroken that Maurice Lenell has closed. HEARTBROKEN," Jo W.writes on Yelp.

"There is nothing better than walking in and having the smell of freshly baked cookies meet your nose, and nothing more special  than watching the cookies come off of the machines," Michelle S. writes. "Plus, you can't beat the bags of broken cookies."

At Chicagoist, Mondegreen writes "The pleasant smell of those cookies is a fond memory from childhood. The taste, not so much."

While the Norridge location will disappear, the company says its online store will re-open in the new year; Consolidated Biscuit Co., which bought Lenell, hasn't announced its plans.

In any case, though, the Norridge era is through. No more Cookie Jar Outlet Store or Holiday Tin Hotline.

But if you want to keep that last package of Pinwheels as a momento, it will probably keep.


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