Preservation Bread + Wine
Nestled in a cozy spot on the south end of Third Street, Lawrence Colburn’s Preservation Bread + Wine provides guests an artistic and intimate culinary experience.
Owner Lawrence Colburn sees Preservation Bread + Wine as a way to combine his passions – art, wine, and soulfully designed food. Having previously attended art school, art has always been a major part of Lawrence’s life. However, once he was into his thirties, he began to re-evaluate what his “end game” really was. Was he going to be the best artist that ever lived? Was that his only goal?
While working at some of Chicago’s best fine dining spots, Lawrence began to see the artistic side of pairing food and wine, and wanted to learn how to show people the unique dance between the two. This inspired him to pursue an education as a Sommelier through the admired International Sommelier Guild.
As part of his training, he had to complete an in-depth, extensive project. Lawrence used his idea of Preservation Bread + Wine, developed largely from his restaurant experience, as the basis for this project. He was able to create the bones of the business before he even knew it would be a genuine possibility. He walked away from his training not only with the recognition of being a refined Sommelier, but with a base plan to create his dream opportunity.
Lawrence didn’t have a concrete timeline or ideal location for his business idea, though. In fact, it was on a random train ride out to the suburbs with his daughter that he spotted the perfect location – a charming building on the south end of Geneva’s famed Third Street. He loved that it was far enough away from the city to have its own identity, and that the area didn’t have a cookie-cutter, suburbia look to it.
The spot was a bit broken down – the building is over 100 years old and several businesses had been in and out of it over the past few years (it had previously been a Pizza Hut at one point!). Lawrence and his team gutted the interior structures, added new plumbing, new electrical – basically everything. In terms of interior design, though, they didn’t have to overthink it. The exposed brick and original tin ceilings throughout the space really spoke for themselves. They added contemporary elements to give it sort of a city feel, and you can even see some of Lawrence’s personal artwork hanging on the walls. It was quite an undertaking, but construction only took about four months to complete.
Lawrence set out to create a menu with his team that was artfully prepared. He focused on artisan breads, great sandwiches, cheese and charcuterie, soups, salads, and savory bites. The spot changes its menu seasonally to feature new menu items, and also aims to source local ingredients when possible. They wanted to maintain a feel of intimacy not only in the design, but with the food and drink as well. Lawrence says that some of their most popular menu items today include the smoked turkey sandwich, the short rib pie, the mushroom tart, and the European cheese plate.
You can also experience their food during Geneva’s Restaurant Week, typically held at the end of January. Preservation Bread + Wine has participated each year the city has hosted the event, and views this as an opportunity to not only reach new customers, but also as a way to encourage their regulars to try some of their other menu items at a discounted price! Another unique way to try their menu is through one of their wine dinners, hosted almost every month on the second Monday of the month. With multiple seating times and a great price point, these dinners are sure to be a hit with you and your guests. Don't forget they also offer $20 select bottles of wine and 5 different gourmet flatbreads on Wednesdays!
If you have a special occasion coming up, keep in mind that Preservation Bread + Wine also hosts a lot of private events. With the ability to hold up to about 55 people throughout the entire space, it is perfect for bridal and baby showers, corporate events, and more. Hosting people at your home or another venue? Allow them to bring their beautifully presented food to your spot!
The crew at Preservation Bread + Wine totals about 18, all of whom are there to make your experience the best it can be. They work as a like-minded team to give you an interactive, live, and genuine experience with their food and drink. As Lawrence puts it, they ultimately want to give their guests a sense of adventure within a comfort zone. I’d say they do a great job of this and can’t compliment them more!
Overall, the business has seen a lot of growth over the past 6.5 years since it opened. They started with just 30 seats up front and grew to add the rear area, which features about 30 more. They developed a cozy patio setting that seats additional people during warm weather months, and they recently took full ownership of their current building and the spot next door. Next, they are looking to concept some larger dinner specials. They are known for a shared plate style, but will be introducing new items such as a braised pork dish – still with the Preservation Bread + Wine style, but as more of a plated dinner.
During Ryan and I's most recent visit to Preservation Bread + Wine we enjoyed a bottle of red wine and the Spanish cheese plate, which features a queso de oveja, a queso tetilla, and a monte enebro with crostinis, ginger beet chutney, and pickled watermelon rind.
I feel like it is always a challenge for me to make menu decisions at restaurants, and the fact that everything at Preservation Bread + Wine is so good makes it even more difficult! Should I opt for the french onion or tomato bacon soup? Should I add a brioche grilled cheese for dipping? Or how about the spinach + artichoke bread pudding, with toasted feta cheese? Decisions!
The roast beef sandwich at Preservation Bread + Wine has to be one of the prettiest sandwiches I've ever seen, and it tastes even better than it looks. Tender roast beef is piled on a fresh baguette with roasted onions and horseradish slaw for a melt-in-your-mouth experience. We also love to order the smoked turkey sandwich, made with grilled sourdough, apples, walnuts, and saint angel cheese. During our most recent visit, the roast beef won.
TIP: Lunch is typically okay for walk-ins, but reservations are definitely recommend for dinner, as they get very busy! Give the restaurant a call ahead of time or jump on their website to secure your spot.
I had a blast chatting with Lawrence and getting to know more about the history of this spot. I hope you'll enjoy a visit there soon, and look for more great things to come from Preservation Bread + Wine! Check out their menu below.