As you know, Chicago is home-sweet-home to coffee giants like Intelli and Metropolis, as well as devastatingly killer shops like Wormhole, Kickstand, New Wave, Coffee Studio, Brothers K / Other Brother, and (the best kept secret in Chicago coffee), Ch'ava. It seems like every month, a bevy of new, quality-focused shops open their doors. Here are some of the leaders of the new school:
Opening very early 2011, City Grounds has employed some of the most dedicated baristas in the Windy City. Rocking a Mirage Duette, Metropolis coffee, pourover options, and a beautiful, modern 2-story location. Years in the making, owner Steve Chang has thoughtfully and patiently paved a path to coffee excellence. If you're planning a trip to Chicago after the holidays, put City Grounds on your list. Located at Dickens and Lincoln in Lincoln Park.
Grahamwich by Graham Elliot
Opening this week, the newest addition to Master Chef Graham Elliot Bowles' arsenal of awesome is... drum roll.... Grahamwich. Located at North State Street and Ontario, Grahamwich will offer Gastro-Gourmet style sandwiches, homemade soft-serve, and custom sodas made in conjunction with Goose Island. Traditional, rustic, and amazing barely describe the coffee offerings at Grahamwich. Their menu exclusively consists of (ristretto only!) Espresso, a 7oz Cappuccino, a 12oz Latte, a 3oz Machiatto, and french-pressed Metropolis coffee. They even have to-go presses for the busy body. At Grahamwich you will not find latte art, but will be scintillated by their traditional espresso/milk ratios, tweaked-out Linea, and, of course, incredible food. If you've ever wondered what would happen if a Michelin-starred chef got all nerdy about coffee, check out Grahamwich.
Dark Cloud Coffee
Another addition to Lincoln Park third-wave shops is Dark Cloud Coffee. The brainchild of Andy Atkinson (formerly of ICB in Evanston), Dex Zeiler (of ICB and Brothers K fame), and Matt Gasaway (most recently of Wormhole). Dark Cloud's soft open was last night and should be open to the masses any day now. First thing's first: they have a Slayer. I've never worked on a Slayer, but between the pressure profiling, the design, and a name every scene kid loves, I'm gonna say it probably rules. Breathing a little punk life into Lincoln Park, the Cloud will be serving coffee from a rotating lot of the country's best roasters and hosts an army of extremely talented and experienced baristas. Quality coffee, no arrogance, and totally righteous loud music. How can you lose?
Gaslight Coffee Roasters