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Uptown, Edgewater, Rogers Park

Happy Monday Coffee Roasters Moving To Edgewater From Kankakee, With Plans For New Cafe

Happy Monday's owners also recently opened the coffee shop Drink Happy Thoughts in Uptown.

Craig Alexander and Yamel Salazar are moving Happy Monday Coffee Roasters from Kankakee to Edgewater.
Courtesy Yamel Salazar
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EDGEWATER — Happy Monday Coffee Roasters is moving from suburban Kankakee to Edgewater, where it will open a roastery and cafe in hopes of claiming a bigger stake in Chicago’s competitive coffee industry.

Happy Monday will open at 1307 W. Hollywood Ave. in late September. The location will house the wholesale roasting operation as well as a coffee shop that will be called Happy Monday, said owners Craig Alexander and Yamel Salazar.

The couple is moving to Edgewater to be closer to their home, existing coffee shop and clients, they said. Earlier this year, the two opened Drink Happy Thoughts in Uptown where they live.

“Edgewater ended up being the perfect spot for us,” Alexander said. “We want to create a bubble up here on the North Side, supplying restaurants and cafes, and making this a local operation.”

Alexander is a veteran of the city’s coffee scene. He co-founded Hero Coffee Bar, a cafe with multiple locations that he sold in 2018. He is also a partner in the Limitedless brand of caffeinated seltzer water.

Credit: Courtesy Yamel Salzar
Salazar and Alexander, pictured here sourcing coffee beans, specialize in creative concoctions at Drink Happy Thoughts in Uptown.

After selling Hero Coffee Bar, Alexander and Salazar opened Happy Monday Coffee Roasters in 2017. It was opened in Kankakee, near where Alexander grew up, to avoid non-compete agreements after leaving Hero, he said.

With those contractual issues no longer in effect, Alexander and Salazar said they want to move the business to make Happy Monday a bigger brand in Chicago.

RELATED: Coffee Industry Veterans Open Cafe In Uptown, Featuring Unique Drinks: ‘We Like To Experiment’

Happy Monday roasts coffee beans for Alexander’s former businesses, Hero Coffee Bar and Limitless. It also provides coffee beans to Edie’s All Day Cafe in River North and Charmers Cafe, a revitalized Rogers Park coffee shop that is under new ownership.

The roastery is partnering with local spirits maker Koval on a line of barrel-aged coffee products.

“It’s all about building that brand,” Salazar said.

The space at 1307 W. Hollywood Ave. is about 1,400 square feet. Half of it will be the roasting operation, with the other half reserved for the cafe.

The cafe will be called Happy Monday and will act as a sister business to Drink Happy Thoughts. While Drink Happy Thoughts is known for its creative and indulgent coffee concoctions, Happy Monday will serve more simple cafe staples like drip coffee, cold brew and espresso, Salazar said.

Happy Monday will also sell bags of coffee beans, plus gifts from local artists and local band merchandise. The roasting operation will be visible from the coffee shop, she said.

“It’s Happy Monday, so we want it to be very cozy in there,” Salazar said. “It will be a place where you can see behind the scenes of coffee making.”

The goal is to have Happy Monday served in coffee shops, diners and restaurants throughout the city, Alexander said.

“We want to grow through our concentration on wholesale from here on out,” he said.

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