HYDE PARK — The owners of a café next to the Hyde Park Art Center are eyeing a grand opening next week as they prepare to offer coffeehouse specialties, Mexican food and a “cozy” environment.
Almendro Café will take over the former Bridgeport Coffee, 5020 S. Cornell Ave., pending a final city inspection of the space, co-owner Pamela Hernandez said. She owns the café with her mother.
Alongside coffee, iced tea, pastries and other café mainstays, they’ll reflect “a little of our Mexican heritages” in Almendro’s menu with molletes, tortas, tamales, elotes, horchata and agua de jamaica, Hernandez said.
“I would say someone can eat reasonably for less than 20 bucks,” Hernandez said. “We know there’s a lot of elderly people and students around the area, so we’re trying to make our prices low.”
Hernandez hopes to open the café within the next week, and when it’s open, neighbors will be invited to get a feel for the place during a free tasting event, she said.
Almendro Café’s hours will be 6 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday and 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.
The café is next to the Hyde Park Art Center, where students are set to begin their first session of pay-what-you-can classes next week. The café will stay open beyond its regular hours and sell food to people attending art center events if needed, Hernandez said.
“We are really grateful for the art center to give us the bid on [the café space], because we know there were a lot of people applying,” Hernandez said.
The art center is “super excited to have Almendro Café in our building and look forward to their opening,” Lorenz said in an email. “We know the community has been missing having a spot to grab coffee and a bite and to gather, and [we] are excited about their vision for the space.”
The owners are wrapping up renovations to the space, Hernandez said. They want to create a “place where somebody can feel welcome,” particularly after neighbors have been isolated from each other in the past couple of years, she said.
“We don’t just want it to be a café; we want you to walk in it like a home,” Hernandez said. “There will be a couch there if you guys just want to be in there with your coffee. … We’re not just a retail place, we want you guys to feel welcome and cozy.”
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