JEWELERS ROW — The Goddess and Grocer has big plans in Chicago, starting with a small cafe in the Loop.
Goddess and the Baker, a new cafe from the local grocer, will open Monday morning at 33 S. Wabash Ave., Goddess partner Michael Schultz said. Opening at 7 a.m., the Goddess cafe will focus less on groceries and more on serving coffee drinks and food, including grilled cheese sandwiches on naan.
The cafe is the first from Goddess, a grocery/restaurant that in 2004 opened in Bucktown but has since expanded to River North and O'Hare Airport. A new Goddess grocer is opening next week in the Gold Coast at 1127 N. State St., while another Goddess cafe is opening at Navy Pier around Memorial Day. More cafes are on the way, Schultz said, declining to say where.
"I'm excited to show everybody this fits in every single area," Schultz said. "So why not open in the middle of the madness?"
Schultz hopes the cafes will serve "people on the run or kicking back for fun for a few minutes." He aims to please with cozy decor — much of it seafoam green — and a rotating coffee menu, starting with Stumptown cold brew on nitro tap, the same kind of tap as Guinness beer.
"What we did not like was being boxed in. You go to Starbucks, you get Starbucks," said Schultz, a former owner of BlackFinn Ameripub in River North and senior manager for Wolfgang Puck.
Other roasters in the rotation include Chicago-based Metropolis and Dark Matter, as well as Colectivo out of Milwaukee. The cafe is also preparing a beer and wine menu that has not yet been finalized, but will include Goose Island My Shout on draft and bottles including Not Your Father's Root Beer.
The menu features the aforementioned grilled cheese sandwich ($8.95), as well as a barbecue brisket sandwich on shallot bun for $10.95. Flatbreads, salads, gelatos and breakfast will also be available. Sticking to its grocer roots, the cafe will also sell "grab-and-go" snacks like nuts and candy.
"People are going to be really surprised when they see the food program here," Schultz said.
A native of Australia, Goddess founder Debbie Sharpe moved to London in the '70s and entered the catering business in 1984. She quickly befriended Paul and Linda McCartney, catering most of Sir Paul's shows and social events.
She then moved to Chicago and opened Cru Cafe and Wine Bar in the Gold Coast and the restaurant now known as Feast in Bucktown. She's now the preferred caterer for C3 Presents, serving at festivals including Lollapalooza and the upcoming Grateful Dead shows at Soldier Field.
The 1,800-square-foot cafe at 33 S. Wabash has capacity for 40 people, with most of the seats at communal tables. Goddess and the Baker will be open from 7 a.m. till "at least" 8 p.m. weekdays, Schultz said, and from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. weekends.
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