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Perkolator Coffeehouse Opens in Irving Austin Business District

By Heather Cherone | September 16, 2014 8:36am | Updated on September 16, 2014 12:28pm
 Perkolator Coffeehouse opened Monday in the spot left empty by the closure of Regulus Coffee House, bringing a cafe back to the Irving Austin Business District.
Perkolator Coffeehouse Opens
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PORTAGE PARK — Perkolator Coffeehouse opened Monday in the spot left empty by the closure of Regulus Coffee House, bringing a cafe back to the Irving Austin Business District.

Joe Basilone served the first cup of coffee just after 6 a.m., and found himself greeting a steady stream of customers all day — including Ald. Tim Cullerton (38th) and fellow Portage Park business owners wishing him well.

"We've been looking at the dark spot for months," Basilone said. "It is great to have it open."

Heather Cherone says another closed coffee shop helped the owners out in a big way:

Basilone, who owns the Thrift & Thrive resale shop across Irving Park Road with his wife, Melissa, opened Perkolator coffeehouse and cafe at 6032 W. Irving Park Road to breathe new life into the business district along Portage Park's western edge, which is pockmarked with empty storefronts.

 Josh Sheldon serves up a shot of espresso at Perkolator.
Josh Sheldon serves up a shot of espresso at Perkolator.
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DNAinfo/Heather Cherone

"Regardless of whether [Perkolator] is profitable, we did the right thing for the neighborhood," Basilone said.

Mark Miskewitch, who lives less than a block from the cafe, said he was thrilled to have a new coffee house so close to where he lived with his wife and two kids.

"This is great for the neighborhood," Miskewitch said. "We needed it. It will bring a lot more business to the area. The vibe is really nice."

The cafe's name is a play on the old-fashioned coffeemaker Basilone remembers bubbling away on the stove in his grandmother's kitchen. The coffee makers line the brightly painted walls, which display work from local artists.

Basilone said the cafe got an unexpected boost from the recent closure of the Knockbox Cafe in Humboldt Park, which lost its lease. Owners Jonah and Tiffinie Shalack gave Basilone $2,000 worth of equipment and supplies — plus an industrial-sized microwave.

"I am overwhelmed by their generosity," Basilone said of his friends.

Regulus closed at the end of December after a dismal holiday season made worse by the harsh winter and by the string of setbacks suffered by the Patio Theater, 6008 W. Irving Park Road, which is now up for sale.

Perkolator is open from 6 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays and from 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

For more Northwest Side news from Heather Cherone, listen here: