PILSEN — North Side coffee roaster Bow Truss will open a Pilsen coffee shop, piggybacking off the recent appearance of other high-end restaurants and retail shops in the neighborhood.
Bow Truss owner Phil Tadros said he chose Pilsen after seeing the success of places like Dusek’s, the restaurant from Longman & Eagle’s Bruce Finkelman and Craig Golden that opened September in Thalia Hall.
“I just think that it’s a great area that’s a little underserved,” said Tadros, who’s also got his hands full with a brewery and restaurant opening on the North Side. “For an entire 'hood as large as Pilsen to only have a couple coffee options, that’s just not enough.”
The coffee roasters already have locations in Lakeview and River North. In February, Bow Truss asked customers for a $200,000 loan via Chicago startup LendSquare in an attempt to open a new shop.
Tadros said the company still is raising that money, most of which will go toward finding a new roasting location. Bow Truss now roasts out of its Lakeview spot. Only some of the startup money will help fund the new Pilsen shop at 1641 W. 18th St.
Tadros said the focus will be solely on coffee and espresso in the 650-square-foot shop. There will be no food.
The tiny location has been vacant since owner Jeffrey Malk bought it last year. For Malk, who’s been in the Pilsen real estate business for 10 years, seeing what Dusek’s and its basement bar, Punch House, have brought to the neighborhood is encouraging.
Dusek’s "sort of put Pilsen on the radar for a lot of restaurant groups. You’re seeing a lot of Logan Square-type restaurateurs who see Pilsen as their second location,” Malk said.
Bow Truss’ Pilsen spot is flanked by two other coffee shops: Nitecap Coffee Bar, which opened in March 2013, and Cafe Jumping Bean, which recently celebrated 20 years in the neighborhood.
Cafe Jumping Bean owner Eleazar Delgado said he welcomes the new Pilsen business, but said ultimately his coffee shop provides an inexpensive option with employees who know everybody’s name.
“People know that if they come to the Jumping Bean, they can have lunch for under five bucks. They know they can have a cup of coffee, and it’s not gonna cost them an arm and a leg,” Delgado said.
Over the last couple years, Delgado said he has noticed some subtle changes in the coffee shop’s clientele. He’s heard more requests for pour-over coffee (which the Jumping Bean does not offer), and a few complaints about too many “hipsters” in the shop have started showing up on his Yelp page.
“I said, ‘Where are the hipsters?’ I see the churro man, the paletero [ice cream] man here. I see the ladies from the restaurants and the workers. We know everybody here,” Delgado said.
Tadros said the Pilsen Bow Truss shop should be open by May.