LOGAN SQUARE — A coffee shop selling locally-made empanadas and a rotating selection of pastries has joined the neighborhood.
MeLatte Coffee Shop at 3304 W. Fullerton Ave. served its first customers last weekend.
It’s a homecoming for Luz Marriaga, who opened the business on the same Logan Square block where she ran beauty shop Luz’s Beauty Supplies & Salon nearly a decade ago.
“I’m a single woman, an immigrant. … I worked very hard for this coffee shop. This coffee shop is my heart,” Marriaga said.
Marriaga, 52, is from Honduras but has been living in Chicago for nearly 30 years, most of them in Hermosa. She said the inspiration for MeLatte comes from her uncle, who runs a coffee farm in El Progreso, a city in northwestern Honduras.
Marriaga wasn’t able to import her uncle’s coffee in the shop due to the coronavirus pandemic, but she plans to as soon as it’s safe to travel overseas.
Currently, MeLatte serves coffee from Chicago-based Metric Coffee Co., tea from Spirit Tea, also based in Chicago, as well as empanadas made by a local man, Argentinian sweets and other pastries.
The coffee shop is bright and colorful with seating in back. Its name is a play on “me late,” a Spanish phrase that can be loosely translated to, “Follow your heart.”
“This is my dream, to offer the community coffee,” Marriaga said. “I love to see people when they come in and say, ‘It smells so good.’ I feel so happy.”
Marriaga opened Luz’s Beauty Supplies & Salon at 3280 W. Fullerton Ave. in 1999. She closed the beauty shop in 2011 after business dwindled.
For the last several years, Marriaga has been working as a nanny and cutting hair at people’s homes.
Marriaga said it feels good to be back on Fullerton Avenue, reconnecting with Logan Square neighbors. She said some of her old beauty shop clients have even stopped in to wish her luck.
The opening was a long time coming. Marriaga started leasing the space in January but, like many other businesses, it kept getting delayed by the pandemic.
Marriaga said she “worked little by little” and used her savings to get the coffee shop open.
“When the pandemic came, I was like, ‘What can I do here?’ I said, ‘You know what, this is my dream. I want to fight for this. I worked hard,'” she said.
After months of planning, Marriaga was recently able to share with her many relatives in Honduras she had successfully opened her second small business in Chicago.
“I want to show that it’s possible to fulfill your dreams,” she said.
MeLatte is open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Sundays.
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