PORTAGE PARK — The owners of two Northwest Side cafes are merging their businesses, but they will still sell popular menu items from both shops.
Jacqueline Mancias-Murphy and her husband, Chris Murphy, closed Murphy’s Sandwich Shop Off the Six at 4944 W. Irving Park Road this weekend, about a month after opening it. But they plan to sell some of their customers’ favorites at their other business, Junebug Cafe at 4042 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Murphy’s opened in August and was part of a business shuffle for the owners: Junebug was originally open at the Irving Park Road spot, but they moved it to the Milwaukee Avenue storefront to get their hands on a larger kitchen and more dining space.
Murphy’s offered po’boy sandwiches, drinks and other items in a New Orleans French-Creole style. But it didn’t get enough foot traffic, so the owners decided to fold the sandwich shop into Junebug, Mancias-Murphy said Monday.
Junebug Cafe will sell some of Murphy’s popular sandwiches, malts, shakes and biscuit options, in addition to Junebug’s signature Creole food, Mancias-Murphy said.
Since the cafe has been seeing consistent business, the move will make life easier and ensure Murphy’s items are accessible for the community, Mancias-Murphy said.
A brisket po’boy was recently added to the menu, and it’s already a popular item, Mancias-Murphy said. A Louisiana favorite, the po’boy features slow-cooked brisket tossed in brisket gravy on a French roll with Creole remoulade, lettuce, tomato and onion.
“It’s freaking delicious,” Mancias-Murphy said.
The menu will also have catfish and shrimp po’boys and a Chicago Cajun po’boy with smoked sausage, pickled jalapeño, onion and spicy mustard.
More beignets and breakfast options will also be available. The updated menu debuts Wednesday.
“We’re thinking about doing Murphy’s Sandwich Shop as a catering option. … We had good feedback on sandwiches, just not enough foot traffic,” Mancias-Murphy said.
The sandwich shop staff will also move over to Junebug, allowing the cafe to expand its hours into the evening, Mancias-Murphy said. The cafe currently closes at 3 p.m. Monday-Thursday.
The owners are experimenting with offering dinner until 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and will have a live band in the evenings starting Thursday, Mancias-Murphy said.
The owners also plan to start packaging their breakfast pies for sale since many customers love them, Mancias-Murphy said. They might offer a rotating soup during winter to “keep surprising people with different things,” she said.
As part of the business move, the owners closed Junebug’s West Town location over the summer to focus solely on the Northwest Side.
The owners hope the expanded menu, hours and occasional live music will keep people coming to Junebug’s Portage Park cafe and add more energy to the Six Corners strip.
The move “will be better for everyone,” Mancias-Murphy said. “Nothing is ever easy, but great things come with hard work.”
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