PORTAGE PARK — A new café specializing in French Creole cuisine is coming to the Six Corners Shopping District later this summer.
Junebug Café owners Chris and Jacqueline Murphy have lived in Portage Park for the past four years, and Chris’s father, Dennis, grew up near Six Corners before moving to Oak Park. In 1979 Dennis Murphy would become the first person to be granted a liquor license in the historically dry suburb.
“My wife, her family’s from northern Louisiana. They’re French Creole. So we’re kinda putting a French Creole twist on a café style setting,” said Chris Murphy. He’s been a bar manager at Poor Phil’s Bar and Grill, also owned by his father, in Oak Park for the past 10 years.
He says Junebug, 4944 W. Irving Park Rd., will combine his wife’s family history (the café is named after his wife’s late grandmother) with his lifetime of experience in the service industry to create something unique to Portage Park. Initially, Junebug will be offering coffee brewed from Dark Matter Coffee beans alongside Louisiana inspired fare like meat pies, fresh beignets and chicory coffee.
“Chicory coffee is something, you know, that you just don’t see at every coffee shop,” said Jacqueline Murphy. “And we’re not going to do the typical bagels you see at other coffee shops. We’re going to have meat pies. And to me, in Louisiana, a meat pie is a meal.”
Jacqueline Murphy’s grandmother, “Granny June,” moved from Louisiana to Chicago and settled her family in Portage Park. And while some people will be familiar with some of the cuisine if they’ve visited New Orleans, Junebug’s menu will have its roots in Jacqueline Murphy’s northern Louisiana heritage.
“It’s crazy because it’s such a small state but everyone has their own little recipe and their own little twist to things,” said Jacqueline Murphy. “And it’s amazing how from one town to the next people make things so differently even though they’re following the same instructions. Everyone has their own little spice or their own little twist that they add to it.”
Granny June died the day before Chris and Jacqueline Murphy’s youngest son, Rio, was born. The couple says her compassion for family and her community is something they want her namesake café to continue.
“Most knew her as ‘Granny’ and, whether you liked it or not, she truly was everyone’s Grandma,” she said. “Granny nourished us with love, laughter, and wisdom—washed down with her delicious coffees and snacks. We aim to share that same love and nourishment with all of our neighbors.”
Junebug Café is expected to open in August 2018.