EAST GARFIELD PARK — The Black-owned coffee pop-up selling specialty drinks and pastries at the Garfield Park Conservatory since December will continue to serve visitors through the end of the summer.
The conservatory invited Monday Coffee for a long-term residency through August, on the heels of the company’s successful three-month pop-up. Visitors can get food and drinks from the Monday Coffee crew at the conservatory 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday-Sunday in Horticulture Hall.
“I am most excited about being able to expand our offerings and play a little bit more with what we bring to the conservatory,” cofounder Felton Kizer said. “It’s really exciting getting a sense of our audience and getting to know what people in that neighborhood like.”
Monday Coffee’s expanded menu will feature drinks made with its signature cold brew, like a latte with oat milk and lavender. The crew is also offering matcha drinks and four specialty tea blends: chamomile and rose, peppermint and hibiscus, earl gray and elderberry and black tea and hibiscus. Monday Coffee partnered with Dan The Baker to serve locally sourced coffee cakes and pastries, including a variety of cruffins, a cross between a croissant and a muffin.
The café’s menu has adapted to the palates of visitors at the Garfield Park Conservatory, Kizer said. The crew added drinks like mocha and matcha after “looking at trends and taking feedback. People actually like mocha. At first we didn’t offer that, but now we have mocha on the menu,” he said.
Extending the pop-up series into a residency at the conservatory enables Monday Coffee to be a reliable place for West Siders to get their coffee fix, Kizer said.
“We are transitioning from working out of a suitcase to having some sort of permanence. We have regulars now that are coming to the conservatory to grab our coffee. That is beautiful,” Kizer said.
The company was intentional about bringing its curated coffee experiences to the conservatory since there are few cafés in the surrounding area, said cofounder Amanda Christine Harth. By having a consistent presence, Monday Coffee can be an entryway for people to experience coffee in a way that suits their tastes, Harth said.
“Being a Black-owned coffee company, we have a different perspective on how things should go with this drink that has been around for thousands of years,” Harth said. “We are more than a coffee company.”
The focus of Monday Coffee is “all about the people and their experience,” which grows out of the cofounders’ prior work in creative industries, Kizer said. From his background as a photographer and portrait artist, he is “interested in making people feel their best,” he said.
“I’m interested in helping people best represent who they are. Your job as a portrait artist is to watch people, see how they’re moving and be able to assist them. So, I’m thinking about how people will interact with Monday Coffee, like what offerings are we going to have?” Kizer said.
Harth thinks about coffee as a storytelling experience due to her background in fashion and as an artist-in-residence at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago Homan Square, she said. Each cup of coffee represents an opportunity to share a moment, an idea or a connection with another person with a different experience, she said.
“It’s all about storytelling and how it connects to the human experience. That’s something we’ve been able to connect to the coffee company as well,” Harth said. “It’s an experience with every sip of coffee.”
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