Rich Labriola was born and raised on the East Side of Blue Island, which may seem like an unusual starting place for one of the nation’s top artisan bakers and most successful bakery entrepreneurs.
But it was in Blue Island, in the home of his loving parents Dan and Sarah that Rich learned the truths that would guide him throughout his life: There are no shortcuts to great quality, no one else can live your dream for you, and delicious food can feed your soul.
As a child, Rich would hide in the back seat of the car while his father drove to their family pizzeria so he could work side by side with his Dad making pizzas. As a young man, Rich held a series of jobs that did not spark his passion, but he knew that his intense drive and passion for quality and would best be served by starting his own business.
So Rich became a baker. The Labriola Baking Company was born in 1993, with Rich, the “Chief Dough Boy”, at the helm.
Rich studied with masters from the French, Italian and German methods of bread making, and he gleaned what he needed from each to create his own style.
In 1996 Labriola started making artisan bread which has become the company’s signature line. Rich built a bakery his way. Quality and authenticity were the foundation. He made starters that we unique to each bread. Rich tested hundreds of recipes before picking the ones that would bear his name. He searched far and wide for the finest ingredients. He began to age his own flour. He brought in special Italian ovens. All in the name of great taste.
Rich built Labriola Baking Company is a $30 million company and later sold it to strategic partners.
In 2008, Rich opened his first restaurant - the Labriola Bakery Café & Neapolitan Pizzeria in Oak Brook, IL. This Café is highly successful and has been featured prominently in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, WGN-TV and several other media outlets.
Rich has applied his entrepreneurial zeal to build the Doughboy Restaurant Group, which includes the Labriola Bakery Café in Oak Brook, LaBarra Ristorante locations in Oak Brook, and Labriola Chicago at 535 N. Michigan Avenue.
As if that is not enough to keep him busy, Rich owns and operates 15 Stan’s Donuts & Coffee locations in Chicago. Stan’s is a legendary Los Angeles Donut and coffee shop and Rich has added his artisan baker spin to to create a cult following here in Chicago.