LOGAN SQUARE — A new coffee shop with a tiny footprint is opening at the corner of Wrightwood and Monticello avenues.
At the shop, neighbors will be able to grab a cup of coffee courtesy of Washington’s Olympia Coffee, baked goods from The Spoke & Bird bakehouse, donuts from Gurnee Donuts (only on the weekends) and empanadas from FIG Catering. The full menu is listed online.
But they won’t be able to stay. There will be a counter, where only a couple people will be able to comfortably stand and sip coffee, and a takeout window in front, but no chairs. Vrijmoet envisions the shop as a “grab and go” spot.
“There’s great coffee here,” Vrijmoet said of Logan Square. “But from this location you gotta go 7-10 blocks.”
Vrijmoet, a prolific painter who has shown everywhere from Brooklyn to Beijing, is using the back of the storefront as her art studio.
Originally from Philadelphia, Vrijmoet lived “all over” — Los Angeles, Boston and Seattle, to name a few — before she landed in Chicago about a year ago.
Vrijmoet didn’t set out to open a coffee shop in Chicago. She was initially searching for a storefront that could serve as her art studio but then, after realizing it’d be cheaper for her to buy a building rather than rent a storefront, she came up with the idea of opening a small, community-oriented shop in front of her studio.
“I thought maybe a juice bar, boutique, coffee shop or a place to sell crystal sound bowls. Something retail, but forward-facing,” Vrijmoet said.
After finding the Wrightwood Avenue building, Vrijmoet stayed in an Airbnb nearby and went around the neighborhood asking neighbors what they’d like to see in that space. Overwhelmingly neighbors said they wanted to see a new coffee shop, she said.
Vrijmoet said she’s thrilled to partner with Olympia Coffee, a socially conscious, “high quality” brand she became familiar with while living in Seattle.
“They go out and build relationships with farmers, teach them how to implement fair employment practices,” she said.
But she said the coffee shop isn’t just for coffee enthusiasts.
“We’re set up for the community so if people don’t care about that sort of thing, and a lot of people don’t — they just want a good cup of coffee,” Vrijmoet said.
The shop is “really for the community to be able to connect,” she added.
“A secure neighborhood is a connected neighborhood. The more people can see and meet their neighbors, the more active the neighborhood is going to be and the more secure the neighborhood is going to be.”
Before the coffee shop, the storefront was home to a beer marketing company.
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