PILSEN — An Uptown coffee shop and West Town pie shop are joining forces to open a new coffee shop and bakery at 18th Street and Blue Island Avenue in Pilsen.
Dollop Coffee Co., which has several other locations in the city, and Hoosier Mama Pie Co. will open a coffee shop and production bakery at 1844 S. Blue Island Ave. The venture, which will carry both brand names, will open in the former El Nopal Bakery.
The Hoosier Mama/Dollop bakery shop, which is now being renovated, will open in two phases, Dollop owner Dan Weiss said Monday. Hoosier Mama Pie Co. will start producing baked goods out of the kitchen by May, and the storefront coffee shop will open later this summer, he said.
"We're really excited about it," the 36-year-old Weiss said.
The collaborators' journey to Pilsen began as Hoosier Mama Pie Company hunted for a production facility to meet growing demand, said co-owner Paula Haney, an Indiana native and alum of chef Grant Achatz's Trio, the now-closed, avante-garde Evanston restaurant. Hoosier Mama Pie Co. makes pies, muffins, scones and other baked goods for Weiss' existing five Dollop shops.
The former El Nopal was everything she imagined in a bakery, Haney said. The tile work in the existing shop even matches Hoosier Mama's signature retro green theme.
"It's the most beautiful bakery. It's stunning," she said. "Ever since I've been in Chicago, I've dreamt about this bakery ... sitting intact and unused, and we found it."
Haney's goal is to produce quality breakfast foods featuring seasonal, local ingredients to accompany great coffee, she said. Dollop Coffee serves Chicago-based Metropolis Coffee and Milwaukee-based Rishi Tea.
Slurping Turtle pastry chef Courtney Joseph plans to work with Haney in the Pilsen kitchen, too, she said.
The new Dollop/Hoosier Mama shop is less than a half-mile from Bow Truss Coffee Roasters, which was plastered with anti-gentrification posters twice in January. The 18th Street coffee shop opened in August.
On Monday, Weiss said he isn't worried Dollop will become a target for anti-gentrification frustrations. Dollop's growth across the city has been "really organic," he said.
"We get in where we fit in. We have a purpose for being there. That space was destined for baking, and it is empty, and Pilsen is super cool," Weiss said. "I have a really good feeling about it."
In addition to existing storefronts in Uptown, Lakeview, Streeterville, the Loop and in Evanston, Weiss is in the process of opening four other cafes, including a French pastry-focused bake shop at 1000 N. Damen Ave. in Ukrainian Village, and spots in Streeterville and the Loop.
Hoosier Mama Pie Shop operates a stand-alone store at 1618½ W. Chicago Ave. in West Town and a joint venture with Dollop Coffee in Evanston.
Although the Pilsen location has closed, the 60-year-old El Nopal Bakery continues to operate on 26th Street in Little Village.
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