NORTH CENTER — Chicagoans tired of dreary winter weather will soon be able to grab a cup of coffee at Botanical Cafe, a new plant shop and cafe opening later this month.
“I really wanted to create an environment that’s welcoming. An escape from our Chicago winters where people can just relax,” said Bryan Ballard, who co-owns Botanical along with his wife Delaney.
For the past three years the couple have thought about opening a business. They both have a background in hospitality management and food service and Ballard also has a bit of a green thumb.
In high school, he grew enough produce in his home garden to sell it at the farmer’s market.
When he moved into an apartment as an adult he transitioned to house plants, but still keeps a miniature garden on his back porch every summer.
“There are a few cafes in the city I’ve been to where they have a lot of beautiful plants. I’ve always wanted to buy them, but they’re just decor for the cafe,” Ballard said.
Conversely, a lot of the plant shops he likes to visit don’t have a space where customers can have a cup of coffee and just kind of hang out or do some work.
“That’s what got us to combine the two concepts for our cafe,” Ballard said.
Plants for sale include desert tropicals, three inch succulents, eight inch monsteras and more. They also want to host monthly terrarium workshops.
Botanical Cafe will be selling food in addition to coffee, tea and plants.
“We’ll have paninis, sandwiches and salads. Also parfaits and fruit cups. Nothing too heavy,” Ballard said.
When looking at places to open up their cafe the couple initially looked a place in Ravenswood.
“We live in Ravenswood, not too far from North Center. We were actually looking at another place off of Montrose by the Brown Line but decided against it because it was already close to another cafe,” Ballard said.
When the address at 3740 N. Lincoln Ave. became available in July, they jumped at the opportunity to be on a stretch of Lincoln with constant foot traffic.
“North Center is great because it has such a small town feel in the city,” he said.
For the latest on the new cafe follow its Facebook page here.
Below is the menu for Botanical Cafe.
Do stories like this matter to you? Subscribe to Block Club Chicago. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.