Seven months after a North Shore entrepreneur prevented the Christmas Eve shuttering of a popular wheat- and gluten-free bakery in Evanston, it is expanding to Highland Park.
Rose's Cafe and Bakery is expected to open at 478 Central Ave. next month, according to a press release.
Rose O'Carroll was unavailable for comment, but told the Tribune in December that she expected to close her 5-year-old Evanston bakery, 2901 Central Ave., on Christmas Eve. But that didn't happen because Lake Forest resident and Camping World and Good Sam CEO Marcus Lemonis stepped in at the last minute.
"As the new owner and partner of Rose's, I am committed to not only keeping the business open, but expanding its customer base and having a successful and profitable business," Lemonis said in the release.
He'd like to franchise the bakery across the country and said in an interview a store is under negotiation for Canton, Ohio.
"There are plenty of people that make a wholesale product that's gluten free, but there's no real chain that offers a cafe and a bakery that are all gluten-free," Lemonis said.
In January, O'Carroll told the Tribune that she was happy with the new arrangement.
"I'm handling the food, and he's handling the business. which is fine," she said. "I think it will be a much better arrangement for me."
Lemonis sees dollar signs when he thinks of vegan, gluten-free and health food restaurants. He also expects to open a cold-pressed juicery in Highland Park next month, called Juice ONE, at 469 Central Ave., across the street from the new Rose's location.
"It's not like a Jamba Juice," Lemonis said. "It's not very commonplace in Chicago, but it's very popular in California."
Highland Park can embrace such healthy destinations, he added.
"It's got a nice base of population and it's a pretty progressive population as well," Lemonis said. "People are open-minded there."
The new Rose's Cafe and Bakery will serve pizza, soups and sandwiches, as well as homemade breads, cookies, cakes, cupcakes and muffins, according to the release. Its menu is expected to feature a variety of vegetarian, vegan and raw options.
The location is scheduled to be open seven days a week, along with extended summer hours, the release said.
Lemonis tried to revive another vegan restaurant across the street that flirted with closing late last year — In the Raw, 483 Central Ave. Lemonis wound up filing a lawsuit accusing the owner of taking his money, disavowing a handshake agreement and threatening to call police if Lemonis attempted to enter the restaurant. The restaurant remains open, and the suit is pending in Lake County Circuit Court, according to records on the court clerk's website.
Lemonis, who has appeared on NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice," as well as ABC's "Secret Millionaire," a show where executives surprise members of impoverished communities after secretly living among them, eats a largely vegetarian diet.
"Having gone gluten-free over a year ago and becoming a patron of Rose's, I understand the love and devotion that customers have for Rose's. I look forward to expanding the business and reaching new customers that have a need for our products," Lemonis said in the release.
His next foray into television, according to the press release, will come in late July when he stars in his own reality television series on CNBC, "The Profit." The show "will focus on small-business turnarounds from the standpoint of a financial investor and operator."
"In each episode, Lemonis makes an offer that's impossible to refuse; his cash for a piece of the business and a percentage of the profits," according to the release. "And once inside these companies, he'll do almost anything to save the business and make himself a profit; even if it means firing the president, promoting the secretary or doing the work himself."