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Our Story

Jerry and The Grateful Dead said it best: “Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.” For Publican Quality Bread Head Baker Greg Wade, that was in the basement of a restaurant where he was working. Marty Travis of Spence Farms walked in to drop off an order, shook Greg’s hand, and said, “Hey, I grow wheat.” Greg said, “Hey, I make bread.” And it was pretty much a brotherhood ever since.

At the time, nobody else here in the Corn Belt besides Marty and his son Will were offering local, organic grains; and they definitely weren’t growing the wayward brothers and sisters of common wheat—things like rye, sorghum, buckwheat, barley, millet. So Marty and Greg got to talking.

At the same time, One Off Hospitality was looking for ways to make better bread on their own terms. Their dream included using locally farmed and milled whole-grain flour with an extra-long fermentation time and super-high hydration, then highlighting those loaves in their restaurants, especially Publican. When they met Greg, a Wisconsin-born bread nut who grew up baking with his mother and grandmother, they put their money where their love is, and Publican Quality Bread was born.

By the time Greg took over the bakery in 2014, he was buying almost 100 percent of what Marty and Will were harvesting and milling: six varieties of wheat, four varieties of corn, heritage grains aplenty, and pretty much anything else that their slice of good green earth would grow. He’s been making nationally renowned loaves ever since.

In June 2022, Greg and One Off Hospitality opened the doors of the Publican Quality Bread Bakery in the West Town neighborhood of Chicago. The goal was to not only provide the public, in addition to their wholesale accounts, with fresh daily bakes, but also to put down roots in the community. It is a space to meet, to gather, and for neighbors to be neighbors

Our Goods

Our bread is a little rough around the edges and a little louder than is polite.

That's mainly because when your ingredients go well beyond straitlaced white wheat, your bakes go to a much more unruly and interesting place. Our recipes are time-tested applications of while-grains in all of their whole form, locally grown, hearth-baked glory. 

What does that mean for you? Your breads, pastries, sandwiches, and other baked sweet and savory treats are about to get a whole lot tastier, a whole lot better for the environment, and a whole lot better for you. 

Our Mission & Values

We Believe...

Raw materials should be responsibly cultivated and sourced locally whenever possible.

In preserving integrity in all parts of our process, even if that means doing things differently. (Sometimes especially if that means doing something differently.)

The handmade, artisanal love that goes into our products is what makes them special.

In the power of community and celebrating the folks who are doing things better than we can.

Anyone can make a great product if given the right tools.

PQB Words to Live By

Bread is a living organism.
Try to interfere, rush, or strong-arm and you will be humbled.

Bread is personal.
It knows when you've had a bad day. Only put in what you want to get out.

Bread is bigger than us all.
Check your ego at the door.

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