Fran Matos opened Crema coffee shop in March at 1401 W. Wilson Ave. Credit: Joe Ward/Block Club Chicago

UPTOWN — Fran Matos has run Crema Shop from her Uptown home, selling roasted coffee beans and other products through an online store, for more than three years.

Now, the business has jumped to a nearby store and has added a cafe, making it Uptown’s newest coffee shop.

Crema Shop opened March 26 at 1401 W. Wilson Ave. The cafe serves coffee drinks and pastries while also stocking Crema’s line of coffee beans, teas and coffee supplies.

Matos launched Crema in late 2018, acting on a lifelong infatuation with coffee that started in her childhood in Puerto Rico. It started as an online business, but Matos always wanted to own her own cafe.

“Deep down, that was something that I always wanted,” Matos said. “I just didn’t know if it would be feasible.”

Matos built up her brand online. In mid-2020, she saw the corner store at Wilson Avenue and Dover Street was vacant and for lease. She jumped at the chance to open her business in the neighborhood, she said.

“I just fell in love with this corner,” Matos said. “I leased it right away.”

The store last held a home design studio.

Crema also sells coffee beans as well as coffee supplies. Credit: Joe Ward/Block Club Chicago

The pandemic caused delays in the coffee shop’s debut in Uptown.

After signing the lease in 2020, Matos opened on weekends, selling coffee beans and supplies. She updated the spot’s bathroom and electrical plumbing work while keeping her job as a coronavirus contact tracer. In August, she was able to start building out the cafe.

Crema serves drip coffee, espresso coffee drinks and a rotating selection of teas and locally made pastries. All items are sourced from small business, including the coffee beans, Matos said. There are also displays for her coffee beans and other products.

Crema occupies a stretch of Wilson Avenue that also contains coffee shops Emerald City Coffee and Heritage Outpost. Matos said Crema has found a niche as a convenient on-the-go spot for commuters and a cozy meeting place.

“I feel like there’s space for everyone,” she said. “I want to make this a neighborhood spot where people can meet.”

Matos said she is excited her business is now an even bigger fixture of Uptown.

“It feels like its starting to pay off,” she said. “Being able to be in here, people telling me they’re glad to see it open, it makes it all worth it.”

Crema is open 6:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday and 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday-Saturday. For more about the business, click here.

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