WICKER PARK — After months of anticipation, two new coffee shops that flank both sides of the CTA Damen Blue Line "L" station in Wicker Park are gearing up to open around the same time, sources from both businesses have confirmed.
Stan's Donuts and Coffee plans to open at 1560 N. Damen Ave. "sometime around the third week of January depending on hiring and training progression," said John Meyer, vice president of operations for Labriola Baking Co., which is partnering with the Los Angeles-based donut shop.
Located in the shuttered Skewerz restaurant space, the doughnut shop is directly in front of the CTA No. 50 Damen bus stop and next to the Blue Line "L" station.
Just to the south, La Colombe Torrefaction at 1552 N. Damen Ave. is getting "very close" and "waiting on some last-minute touches," said Corey Polkow, the Midwest sales manager for the Philadelphia, Pa.-based coffee roaster.
The shops are located across the street from a walk-up window for Glazed & Infused Doughnuts at 1561 N. Damen, as well as near a Starbuck's at 1588 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Though La Colombe co-founder and "Dangerous Grounds" reality TV show host Todd Carmichael tweeted over the weekend that La Colombe is "gearing up for a Tuesday" opening, Polkow said on Sunday that the cafe "won't be opening by Tuesday."
La Colombe will have about 35 seats and the pastries will be brought in daily from Floriole Bakery in Lincoln Park, Polkow said.
La Colombe plans to hire nine employees and Stan's Donut plans to hire 25 workers, bringing 34 new jobs to the area.
Meyer described the 1,300-square-foot cafe, which can accommodate 30 people, as having a "relaxed retro" atmosphere
But there's more: A third player, Cafe Transit is also planning to open inside an 80-square-foot former concession space inside the Damen Blue Line "L" station at 1558 N. Damen Ave.
Darko Arandjelovic, a co-owner of Cafe Transit, could not be reached to confirm when Cafe Transit hopes to open. In December, the cafe posted a photo of its progress on Instagram.
Stan's Donuts will offer yeast-raised and cake doughnuts and is a partnership between Stan Berman and Labriola, who sold most of his stake in the baking company in June to focus on being a restaurateur, Eater reports.
"Nothing beats a really awesome glazed doughnut, a cake doughnut, if you've got the base down of really great dough. Nothing," Labriola said in July.
Labriola, 50, said he first connected with 83-year-old Berman about seven or eight years ago during "the Krispy Kreme frenzy" when he cold-called the third-generation baker after seeing him on a television food show.
Stan's will feature at least 15 regular doughnut flavors and five alternating specials daily.
Previously, Labriola said that Stan's Donuts plans to open around 6 a.m. — one hour before Glazed and Infused across the street at 1561 N. Damen Ave. — and that the coffee will be locally roasted and have its own brand.
"We want it to be a coffee shop people come into every day," said Labriola.
Wicker Park's La Colombe cafe is part of an ambitious plan to build six new cafes and a distillery in 2014, according to reports.
La Colombe's West Loop cafe at 955 W. Randolph St. opened in July 2011.
While La Colombe has not announced which Chicago location they have their sights on next, Polkow said that Stan's Coffee and Donuts is planning to open a second Chicago location inside the Northwestern Memorial Hospital Outpatient Facility at 259 E. Erie St. in Streeterville.
The outpatient facility, currently under construction, is expected to open in November.
La Colombe, 1552 N. Damen Ave. Hours are 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday; 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.
Stan's Donuts and Coffee, 1560 N. Damen Ave. No phone or hours posted yet.