PULLMAN — The latest new business setting up shop in Pullman is a combination microbrewery, coffee roaster, restaurant and café that will open in the Far South Side neighborhood as soon as 2024 with a goal of employing dozens of veterans.
Veterans Brewery and Coffee Roaster is planned for vacant land just west of 111th Street and Doty Avenue, according to Ald. Anthony Beale’s (9th) office. Developers plan to break ground in spring.
The project got a $2 million grant from the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund, a city fund which supports economic developments in underserved communities. It still requires approval from the city’s Plan Commission and City Council.
The project will include a two-story, 16,000-square-foot building with a commercial coffee roaster, microbrewery and a restaurant and café with seating for 75 to 100 people. There will also be a drive-thru and a second floor terrace with private dining, according to the alderman.
Rags of Honor, a nonprofit organization that helps at-risk veterans and employs them at its Chicago-based screenprinting facility at 3435 N. Kimball Ave., is partnering with Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives for the project.
Rags of Honor also aims to employ 55 to 65 local vets at the roaster, according to organizers.
“I have seen for eight years, what happens when veterans become civilians and they lose that attachment and connectivity to their unit … and how many of them end up stumbling and suffering,” said Mark Doyle, Rags of Honor founder and CEO.
“So this is one way that we can create an opportunity for maybe 50 to 60 veterans. When we’re at full go, [they] will have a place to work with other men and women who served so they understand their struggles, be connected again to sort of that unit that they were used to … .”
Veterans Brewery and Coffee Roaster, which has been in the works for the last few years, will support existing and future Pullman developments and create a more economically diverse 9th Ward, Beale said.
“[Veterans Brewery and Coffee Roaster] is going to complement everything that we’re already doing, with the Culver’s and Lexington Betty Smokehouse and Potbelly [Sandwich Shop], and having a hotel chain coming soon, a 101-room hotel,” Beale said. “All those things are tied into the National Monument, so this is another great piece of the puzzle that we have going on in the community and we’re excited about it.”
Rags of Honor is working with the West Loop’s Haymarket Brewery to develop a new ale called “RNR Brews,” Doyle said.
Doyle was drawn to the Pullman and Roseland area because of the work from developers like Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives, Beale, community groups and residents to revitalize the Pullman National Monument and State Historic site, he said in a statement.
“On top of that, a lot of the men and women that we hire live south and had to take trains and buses to get up north where we were, so I thought it’s the best use of an operation that [would] be close for people to get to work,” Doyle said.
Pullman’s access to housing and wraparound services make it a prime location for the new roaster, which will employ veterans who often struggle with finding secure housing and employment, according to the press release.
Veterans Brewery and Coffee Roaster will not only help support veterans in the 9th Ward but also other former U.S. military members across the city, Beale said.
“When you look at the fact that it’s a brewery, it’s a coffee roaster and it’s a restaurant that employs veterans, it’s a win-win for everybody,” Beale said.
In addition to the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund grant, the Veterans’ Roaster project is supported by new market tax credits, Beale said. Once the project receives city approvals, the project could wrap by early 2024, Doyle said.
“The mission for us is just to make sure that anybody who wore the uniform doesn’t get left behind,” Doyle said. “That’s our mission at Rags [of Honor]. It’s our mission at Veteran Roasters and we have a couple of taglines for veteran roasters. One is, ‘They were on the ground for us; buy some grounds for them. It’s a simple ask. There’s an easy way to help a veteran, just support Veteran Roasters.”
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