PILSEN — After remaining vacant for more than a year, Foxglove Coffee has bloomed at the former home of La Parada Coffee shop in Pilsen.
The new shop, which hosted a grand opening Dec. 1, is just steps from the Damen Pink Line “L” entrance at the corner of 21st Street and Hoyne Avenue.
Foxglove owner Michelle Yee hopes her new shop at 2059 W. 21st St. can be a launching pad for other young entrepreneurs looking to kickstart their business.
Beyond serving coffee, tea, pastries and breakfast sandwiches, Yee wants young entrepreneurs to use the coffee shop as a place to host events for their burgeoning business ideas.
“When I was opening this shop, I had a lot of friends that offered to help,” Yee said. “Knowing that I had that support system made it a lot easier. Knowing that some people don’t have the support, I would love to encourage people to reach out if they need help.”
Since childhood, Yee helped her immigrant father at his machine shop in Van Nuys, Calif. — a working-class neighborhood in Los Angeles’s San Fernando Valley. Seeing her father’s hard work, Yee, an elementary school student at the time, began making lanyards she would sell to her classmates. She would later sell candy or resell items on eBay to make money.
“I grew up around that entrepreneurial spirit and it rubbed off on me,” Yee said.
More than five years ago, she moved to Chicago and was a district manager for Hero Coffee shops for a few years. That’s when she deciding to strike out on her own.
Yee previously lived in Pilsen. She picked her old neighborhood for the coffee because it reminded her of where she was raised.
At the shop, she serves coffee from Four Letter Word, a roaster in Back of the Yards.
“I love their story because it’s women and immigrant-owned,” Yee said. “And they serve bomb-ass coffee.”
Drinks range from $2 for a 12-ounce drip coffee to $5 for a large ice matcha tea.
Yee also serves Mexican hot chocolate and seasonal specialty drinks including a cookie butter latte and peppermint mocha latte. In the future, she plans to serve Thai iced tea and Vietnamese ice coffee.
Guests can add CBD to their drinks for an extra $3.
Yee also offers made-to-order bagel sandwiches named after highways in Los Angeles like the 405, a sausage, hash brown, egg, pepper jack, arugula and roasted garlic cream cheese. There’s also the Five, which is avocado, cucumber, furikake, (a Japanese seasoning), pickled onion and cream cheese. Sandwich prices range from $4.50 to $8.50.
Hopping on the train? There’s also a $4 commuter special: a 12 oz coffee with a bagel and cream cheese.
In the coming months, Yee plans to team up with local artists to promote and sell their artwork on a wall at the coffee shop.
She also envisions hosting a monthly Sunday event featuring house music with a live DJ.
Ultimately, Yee said she wants to help creative people who need a space for workshops or events.
“If I can help by providing the space, I’m willing to host so they can make some money. I want to encourage other entrepreneurs to get their start,” Yee said.
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