The Bread Company on Goodwin

“I have a lot of pride in this place.” – Lindsay Aikman, daughter-in-law to Ruth Aikman, founder of The Bread Company.

The Bread Company started in Ruth Aikman's kitchen back when she made bread at home for her family. Originally from Switzerland, Ruth does not like American bread, so started making bread to feed her family the food she enjoyed. Soon, popularity spread and Ruth’s friends and neighbors were coming over (“with wagons!” exclaimed Lindsay) to buy her “unusual” bread. She had success in her home, so she moved to the Farmer’s Market with continued success. That is what prompted Ruth and her husband to open The Bread Company in 1983.

They specialize in all things bread–namely pizza, pasta, and sandwiches. There are three different menus: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The menu has evolved organically based on customer requests, which now features additions such as cookies and specials. Ruth remembers a man who came in every day for twenty years and bought a tuna sandwich for lunch until they finally added it to the menu.

Community is very important to the Bread Company. Ruth says the best advertisement for her restaurant is word of mouth, saying, “If the food is good, people come back.” Lindsay’s life changed as she met her now-husband Derrick, Ruth’s son, at work. Ruth says she runs the restaurant with a very “socialistic attitude,” involving employees in decisions and making them family is central to running the Bread Company. “If you work here, you’ll be in touch forever,” remarked Lindsay. They call the children of people who met working at this restaurant “Bread Company Babies.” Lindsay joked about making tee shirts and onesies for them.

Ruth and Lindsay emphasize the local, made from scratch items on their menu. Bread is baked fresh every day, and they are involved with local farms for their produce. They love local beer on tap and collaborating with local community members. Their restaurant is built from the ground up by family. Ruth painted the art on the walls, Derrick built the tabletops in his garage, and the color scheme was conceived long ago by Ruth and her husband. The bistro atmosphere is cultivated lovingly by hand, and Lindsay hopes to keep it that way, saying “Nothing is more honest than feeding people and bringing them together.”



706 S Goodwin Ave. Urbana, IL 61801