LINCOLN PARK — The owner of Basil Leaf Cafe has decided to try his hand at the coffee shop business.
When Sean Tehrani heard the Caribou Coffee on Clark Street — two storefronts down from his Italian restaurant — was closing last week, he jumped on the opportunity to open his own neighborhood coffee shop.
"We are going to have a neighborhood feel to it, a more food driven place with hopefully better coffee than Caribou," Tehrani said.
Tehrani has owned and operated Basil Leaf Cafe at 2465 N. Clark St. for 15 years and, up until hearing of Caribou's closing, had no plans of opening a coffee shop.
"There was an opportunity and I jumped on it," he said.
The space at 2453 N. Clark St., which will be called Fuel Station, will likely serve Intelligentsia coffee and will have a food menu with sandwiches and other lunch fare.
Fuel Station will also have an outdoor patio seating area.
"It's not a franchise. It’s a neighborhood place, so we can kind of do whatever we want in there," Tehrani said.
Although running the business will be new to Tehrani, he has experience with espressos, cappuccinos and lattes crafted in house at Basil Leaf Cafe.
He hopes to have the business back up and running within a "couple months" depending on how fast he can move with city licensing and permits. The buildout won't be an issue, as he made a deal with Caribou to have the coffee chain leave behind all its equipment.
"I think it’s a great corner for a coffee shop," Tehrani said. "I was surprised that this was one of the two locations in the city that they closed."
Caribou Coffee unexpectedly announced it would be closing the Lincoln Park location last week along with a shop inside the Ogilvie Transportation Center on the Near West Side. The chain's remaining 14 Chicago locations will transition to Peet's Coffee & Tea within the next 12 to 18 months.