LINCOLN SQUARE — Winnemac Park dwellers and dog walkers: you have a new place to get your morning caffeine fix.
City Coffee opened Saturday at 5139 N. Damen Ave., featuring treats like jalapeño croissants and peppermint mocha lattes.
Owner A.J. Lutz, who lives in the neighborhood, was walking his dogs one day when he noticed the corner retail shop, formerly home to convenience store Foster Pantry, was vacant.
“We’re kind of in an interesting intersection between the four neighborhoods of Bowmanville, Andersonville, Lincoln Square and Ravenswood,” Lutz said. “And we’re at a corner right across from a high school.”
City Coffee is serving up its drinks in handcrafted ceramic mugs — made in an array of blue hues — by artist Sarah Smith, who lives in an apartment above the coffee shop.
During the shop’s build out, Smith — a big coffee fan — reached out to Lutz and offered to create the custom mugs.
“I told him that I’d be in the shop practically every day once it opened, probably in my pajamas,” Smith said.
Before opening his own coffee shop, Lutz worked in food, housing and hospitality for more than a decade at universities, including University of Illinois at Chicago, Western Illinois University and the University of Iowa.
He’s always wanted to open his own shop, he said.
“As a kid, my mom loves to tell this story … I would always like to play store at home. So I’ve always had that, wanting to have my own store,” Lutz said.
The menu at City Coffee includes baked goods, signature drinks like caramel and lavender lattes and lunch items like wraps and sandwiches. A small black coffee costs $1.90 and a small signature drink is $4.10, he said.
A full menu is available online.
City Coffee is open from 6:30 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m.-2 p.m. on weekends.