HUMBOLDT PARK — A grab-and-go cafe from a holistic chef is coming to the Logan Square/Humboldt Park border.
Sarah Russo Santillanes is opening Plenty Goods Cafe along The 606’s Bloomingdale Trail in the Kimball Arts Center at 1757 N. Kimball Ave. after running a successful salad subscription service.
The 2,100-square-foot cafe will serve smoothies, salads and breakfast sandwiches made in house, along with an array of beverages and snacks from local makers. The spot will focus on healthy, whole foods, Russo Santillanes said.
The cafe will also be a headquarters for Russo Santillanes’ salad subscription service, which initially went by Salad Club but is now under the Plenty Goods moniker.
The Logan Square resident is aiming to open Plenty Goods early next year. She said the cafe will fill a need in the neighborhood, which lacks healthy, fast-casual restaurants.
“I’m a healthy eater; I love having a burger and going to Outside Voices [wine bar] … I love all that, too. But when I want to grab a smoothie, a breakfast sandwich or a hearty salad, there isn’t any place to do that,” Russo Santillanes said.
Russo Santillanes is a suburban Elmwood Park native who used her natural chef certification from Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts in California to cook for private clients, including athletes.
When the pandemic hit, she launched Salad Club out of The Hatchery in East Garfield Park “to do something for the masses,” she said.
The homegrown business was a hit; Russo Santillanes went from fulfilling 50 salad orders a week to up to 400.
Expanding the business felt like the natural next step, she said.
“We pay about $4,000 in rent [for The Hatchery] … mostly because it’s a certified kitchen facility,” she said. “Our new space is about the same [rent], and the opportunity to come in and talk to us, to walk up and get a pastry or get a salad.”
Plenty Goods Cafe is built on the idea that high-quality ingredients and whole foods can be healing, Russo Santillanes said. Each ingredient used in the kitchen, down to the salt and olive oil, will be sourced from quality purveyors and local farms.
“This is the way I cook for my clients and the way I cook for salad club members, and I will continue to cook this way when we’re in the cafe, too,” Russo Santillanes said.
In addition to healthy breakfast and lunch items like smoothies and salads, the cafe will also carry locally-made snacks and pastries with whole food ingredients — similar to Foxtrot, Russo Santillanes said. Though Plenty Goods is a healthy foods concept, it won’t exclusively cater to one diet or another, she said.
“We’re a whole food company. We’re an inclusive food community. Whether you’re gluten-free, or you love gluten, you’re welcome here. We’ll have something for everyone,” Russo Santillanes said.
To make Plenty Goods a reality, Russo Santillanes is raising money through Honeycomb Credit, a crowdfunding platform for small businesses. As of Friday, the campaign had raised $25,050 toward its $50,000 goal.
She’s working with an architect to build out the space, which will include a mini wellness center, where she plans to host community meditation classes twice a week. The free classes will focus on breathing and stretching — a place for neighbors to “slow down” before or after grabbing a healthy lunch or breakfast.
“I chose to open in Logan Square because I live here, I know people around me care; I go to the farmer’s market every week, I see how people are spending their money and their time,” Russo Santillanes said. “There are some successful vegan businesses in the community already which just shows there’s a demand for this product and people out there will enjoy it.”
Plenty Goods Cafe is the latest small business to move into the Kimball Arts Center, an arts warehouse that underwent a renovation a few years ago.
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