BACK OF THE YARDS — A popular Back of the Yards coffee shop has closed as the owners move operations to a new location and expand to other parts of the city.
Back of the Yards Coffeehouse, 2059 W. 47th St., closed Dec. 29. Co-owners Jesse Iñiguez and Mayra Hernandez opened the shop in 2017.
Construction on a new space in the neighborhood as part of the United Yards development at 47th Street and Ashland Avenue will begin in March, Iñiguez said. That Back of the Yards Coffeehouse will be on the first floor of the old Goldblatt’s building at 4701 S. Marshfield Ave.
The United Yards developers teamed up with Iñiguez to bring small businesses into the highly touted Invest South/West project, which will also create affordable housing.
“It’s going to be in a historic building; it’s fun to be able to revitalize that first floor,” Iñiguez said. “The community doesn’t have a lot of landmarks, and while we have the old stockyard gate, it’s on the edge of the neighborhood. This building is really going to anchor the small business corridor.”
Iñiguez said he would have loved to stay at the original location at least until another space was up and running but ultimately decided not to resign the lease.
Back of the Yards Coffeehouse’s wholesale and online business has already moved into the Marshfield Avenue space, so people can still order their favorite beans, grounds, cold brew and merchandise, Iñiguez said.
Iñiguez also plans to open a coffeehouse in Pilsen’s Mural Park development near 19th and Peoria streets, and he is eyeing a Downtown location in the future.
“Downtown is an area where tourists come and they get an idea of what Chicago is — why not get to know a local, minority-owned coffeeshop?” Iñiguez said. “We get the opportunity for people to see Back of the Yards in a positive light.”
The Pilsen location was in the works before the pandemic, but plans were delayed. It could open as soon as late February, but there’s still no definitive timeline for the Downtown cafe, Iñiguez said.
Iñiguez said it’s exciting to think about where the coffee company is heading, and he hopes to inspire others to pursue their business dreams.
“[Expansion] is something we dreamed of from the get-go … but it was difficult to think about growth,” he said. “We feel humbled by the experience, and we hope that this opens doors for other young, minority entrepreneurs. There’s opportunities out there — if you have an idea that’s well thought-out, it’s just a matter of looking into how.”
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