GOLD COAST — Mariano Park is getting a new coffee shop.
Bow Truss Coffee received final approval Wednesday from the Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners to open this spring in the Gold Coast park at State and Rush streets.
Bow Truss, a Lakeview-based mini-chain that beat out Gibsons Restaurant Group and other prospective vendors, received a seven-year contract with three one-year options. The coffee shop will replace Whispers Cafe, which has been in the park, 1031 N. State St., for the past 13 years.
"They were neck and neck," Alonzo Williams, the park district's director of revenue, said Wednesday.
The approval ends a months-long saga over the park, which is one of the oldest in the city and features a century-old concession stand designed by Frank Lloyd Wright protégé Birch Burdette Long.
Gold Coast neighbors aired concerns this summer over the park district's attempt to replace Whispers with a new concessionaire that would pay more rent, and perhaps alter the historic plaza.
"Most of the people here tonight don't care about the coffee or the pastries, we care about the park," one neighbor said at that meeting in June.
Bow Truss has $2.5 million in annual sales, and was also chosen in part because of accolades it received for its coffee and baristas, Williams said. Philip Tadros, Bow Truss' founder, said he will make minor repairs to the park but otherwise leave it unchanged.
“We probably compliment what the community wanted the most,” Tadros said Wednesday.
The rent Bow Truss will pay the park district under the lease was not disclosed.
Besides coffee, Bow Truss will also sell baked goods, gelato, and sandwiches. It is expected to open in March at the park.
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