LOGAN SQUARE — Local residents no longer have to settle for a greasy doughnut and watery cup of coffee from the convenience store. Now they can have a soft-boiled duck egg and a slow-brewed cup of pour-over coffee.
Gaslight Coffee Roasters opened its doors Sept. 22 on Milwaukee and Fullerton Avenues and has seen brisk business in the weeks since, owners say. So much so that a citywide duck egg shortage is looming.
"We have cleaned out pretty much every Asian market on the North Side," said co-owner Tristan Coulter, noting that they served some five dozen eggs over the last weekend alone.
A duck egg tastes pretty much just like a chicken egg, but it's about 50 percent bigger with a pale blue-green shell. And they often exhibit another curious feature.
"All of our duck eggs have had double yolks," Coulter said.
And if a double-yolked duck egg isn't enough to satisfy, it's served alongside a slice of lardo for those dining in, and a soft cheese when taken to go. They also come with a baguette and side of seasonal fruit.
For lunch, Gaslight serves a charcuterie plate featuring meats from Indiana's Smoking Goose, along with an assortment of cheeses, pickled veggies, mustard and another baguette.
If the menu seems small, that's the point. Coulter said he and his co-owner, Zak Rye, wanted to keep the selection small so they could focus on the quality of the few items they do offer.
"I think people trust us," he said. "I think they trust we've done the work and tried things."
Coulter and Rye met a couple years back while working at Metropolis, hit it off immediately and quickly realized they both had a dream of opening their own shop in Chicago. Both transplants from other midwestern cities — Coulter from Columbus, Ohio, and Rye from Ypsilanti, Mich. — the two knew from the get-go that they wanted to do something a bit different.
It would be the second go round for Rye, who started the Ugly Mug Cafe and Roastery in Ypsilanti.
"There's a low ceiling for what you could do in Ypsi," Rye said, adding that he wanted to avoid starting another "cookie cutter" coffee shop.
Gaslight roasts their own beans in-house in a space shared with HalfWit Coffee, another Chicago roaster.
Like the food, Gaslight offers a small menu, consisting of simple, classic coffee drinks, including the pour-over coffee or a siphon-brewed cup, which involves a vacuum-brewing contraption that wouldn't look out of place in any mad scientist's laboratory.
Coulter emphasizes that the most important thing is creating a comfortable, welcoming atmosphere for everyone.
"We're looking to dispel this whole conceited, arrogant coffee shop barista thing," he said. "I want my parents to like this place."
So what did his parents think when they came to visit from Columbus?
"They loved it," he said.