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River North, Gold Coast, Near North Side

Sweetwaters Cafe Opens On Near North Side, Bringing Asian-Inspired Coffee, Treats To Newcity Complex

Sweetwaters Coffee opened Jan. 30 on the Near North side. It is the first Illinois location for the Midwestern chain.

Sweetwaters Coffee and Tea opened Jan. 30 at 1457 N. Halsted St.
Jake Wittich/Block Club Chicago
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NEAR NORTH SIDE — A Michigan-based coffee shop has opened its first location in Illinois, bringing its selection of globally influenced drinks and treats to the Near North Side.

Sweetwaters Coffee and Tea, 1457 N. Halsted St., opened in the Newcity complex in late January. The shop offers a wide selection of drinks, breakfast foods and desserts, all made with natural, whole ingredients.

Everything is made in-house, said general manager Jacki Putnam.

The menu draws inspiration from founders Wei and Lisa Bee’s Asian heritage, Putnam said. The shop’s menu features Asian-inspired options, like the French Vietnamese cafe au lait, which is a cross between traditional Vietnamese coffee and French chicory, Putnam said.

“They’ve taken their heritage, twisted it and are bringing it to the public in a cafe setting,” Putnam said. “The blending of different cultures is our signature.”

Wei and Lisa Bee opened their first Sweetwaters location in 1993 in Ann Arbor, where they attended college at the University of Michigan, according to the cafe’s website.

Since then, the chain has grown to have dozens of shops across Michigan and across the Midwest and East Coast.

A second cafe for Illinois will open soon in Naperville, according to company’s website.

To celebrate Sweetwaters’ grand opening in Chicago, the cafe is offering deals throughout this week, such as a free size upgrade on Monday, free pastry on Tuesday and a buy-one-get-one-free deal on Wednesday. More information can be found on the cafe’s Facebook page.

“We’re really excited to be joining the neighborhood and are looking forward to people stopping by to get to know us more,” Putnam said.

Credit: Jake Wittich/Block Club Chicago
Sweetwaters Coffee offers a variety of globally influenced and Asian-inspired treats and drinks.

Jake Wittich is a Report for America corps member covering Lakeview, Lincoln Park and LGBTQ communities across the city for Block Club Chicago.

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