LOGAN SQUARE — The neighborhood’s newest restaurant café is on schedule for an early June launch, according to its owner.
La Strada Café Bar, 2025 N. California Ave., will offer artisanal coffee alongside classic Italian deli sandwiches and juices, said George Chavez, 41, who owns the café with his wife, who runs Zen Salon for Men located directly next door.
The two have owned the buildings that house both storefronts for several years; they bought the Zen Spa space around five years ago and acquired La Strada’s space about a year ago as Dr. Fretgood closed for good.
“[The block] has been good to us. We love the neighborhood,” Chavez said. “And for years we wanted a café, so it’s always been a dream.”
Ironically, Zen Salon was a café — No Friction Café and Delicatessen — before Chavez bought the space.
Chavez, a resident of Lincoln Park, called La Strada a throwback “to the true Italian deli” — in part, modeled after one of his favorite delis, Alpine Food Shop in Norwood Park.
The storefront displayed an “opening soon” sign earlier this week as Chavez and a small crew of La Strada staff continued to arrange and refine the interior space. The café is around 1,000 square feet and will seat about 12. Chavez aims to open a sidewalk patio later this summer that will likely seat an additional 10 people.
“It’s a bit overwhelming, but I’m excited,” the former car salesman said, noting that recent meetings with next door neighbors Bang Bang Pie Shop could eventually yield menu collaborations in the future.
Much of the heavy lifting is done, Chavez said, but a slight tinkering of the store’s sign may become the last issue to solve before its grand opening.
“A lot of people are getting confused” at the word “bar” on the sign, he said with a laugh. “But it’s just a juice bar.”
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