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The Goddess and Grocer Reopens With Expected Hiccups

By Josh McGhee | April 25, 2014 1:57pm | Updated on April 27, 2014 8:20am
 The Goddess and Grocer opened its new store across from the old location in Wicker Park Friday.
The Goddess and Grocer Reopens
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WICKER PARK — Brian Kelly's breakfast sandwich and coffee are usually waiting for him when he enters his favorite breakfast joint.

But there was a bit of confusion when he stepped to the counter expecting one of his favorite early morning indulgences a little after 9 a.m. on Friday.

Overnight Thursday into Friday, the Goddess and Grocer closed its original Wicker Park location at 1646 N. Damen Ave. and opened across the street at 1649 N. Damen Ave.

And one casualty of the move was Kelly's breakfast sandwich, which briefly went MIA in the opening hours' confusion.

"It's always a little chaotic on the first day. I understand that," Kelly said forgivingly. "These guys are always on point. I'll still be back. They've earned that from me."

Kelly's eyes wandered around the store Friday morning, impressed by a shop much larger than the one he visited just a day before across the street.

"I ate breakfast there yesterday, and I'm eating breakfast here today," Kelly said with a laugh, appreciative the store remained open so he never had to go a day without his morning sandwich.

Executive chef Brad Alexander stayed until around 11 p.m. Thursday preparing for the new store's grand opening. He only got a few hours of sleep before opening the shop at 6 a.m. Friday.

It only took about five minutes before the customers started rolling in, beginning "a crazy morning as expected" with a couple of small bumps, he said.

"We have pretty regular customers in the morning. A few people poked their heads in immediately and asked if we were open," Alexander said, adding the shop had pushed the move back a couple of times in order to perfect the transition plans.

The delays only seemed to increase the anticipation in the neighborhood, he said.

"That probably drove in a few extra people," he said.

"Everybody was really impressed with the big space. Across the street was quite small," Alexander said. "This is bigger and brighter."

The new shop includes a second-floor seating area with an outdoor patio and a wider food selection, including a salad bar.

"One of the things people were looking for from us was a place to sit around. We only had one table; now we're up to almost [seating] 100. Hopefully, we'll have a bunch more people hanging around eating and enjoying things."

John Steck, 34, wasn't concerned about missing the move since he works just across the street. The Logan Square native was impressed with the new digs when he walked in Friday morning, commenting that the new location brought the store closer to its full potential.

"I always thought it was kind of small. They seemed like they were doing fine, but they could offer more," he said. "It's just great to have a little more space."

Kelly, 29, orders his breakfast as he begins his commute from Lincoln Park to his job at the Nike store at 1640 N. Damen Ave. It's been his routine for about eight months, and his loyalty is appreciated by store workers who greet him by name as he walks through the door.

"It's a thing of beauty. Turkey sausage with cheese on an English muffin. But the breakfast burrito is my go-to," Kelly said as he waited patiently for his lighter-than-usual selection.

Unable to contain his excitement, he left the front counter to explore the new 4,000-square-foot, two-story building. A worker told him "she's put the hurry on" his sandwich as he climbed up the stairs to the second floor.

Kelly gazed through the window at the patio drenched in showers from Friday morning.

"It's definitely the biggest patio on the block," he said nodding approvingly. "Everyone likes a patio."

"It'll get more sun during the afternoon," Kelly said, officially sold on the new location. "This exceeds my expectations."

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