UPTOWN — Bow Truss Coffee is coming to Uptown, but it's getting a bit awkward between the booming coffee chain's owner and his old nearby shop, Dollop Coffee.
"Insulting" and "laughable," in fact, at least according to Dollop's new owner.
Bow Truss Coffee Roasters founder Philip Tadros plans to open not one, but two coffee shops in Uptown. He will open a store at Lawrence Avenue and Clark Street in May, and Tadros said last week he's negotiating to open another near Dollop Coffee at 4181 N. Clarendon Ave.
Tadros opened the original Dollop in 2005, so the choice of location for his new Bow Truss is "surprising" considering his relationship to Dollop, said Dan Weiss, the current owner of Dollop Coffee.
"However, I wish nothing but the best for small coffee in Chicago and do imagine both Dollop and any other cafe can co-exist," Weiss said.
While Weiss had no qualms welcoming Bow Truss, he did take offense to Tadros' comments concerning competition. Said Tadros: "The original Dollop, I love, but it's a different business. They resell a commercially affordable Metropolis brand and make sandwiches. It's a different business model that happens to also sell coffee."
"We are roasters, and we take sourcing and preparing very seriously," said Tadros, adding that the two chains wouldn't be competing because the shops have different concepts.
Countered Weiss: Tadros was "promoting his brand and growth by insulting not only Dollop" but Tony and Jeff Dreyfuss, the father and son tandem responsible for Metropolis Coffee Company.
Considering Tadros' connection to Dollop, Weiss found the comment "hilarious."
On Monday, Tadros sent an email to Dollop and DNAinfo Chicago saying he wanted to apologize to Dollop and Metropolis and felt his comments were "taken out of context."
"[It] sounds like there is some resentment on Phil’s part," Weiss said Friday. "I'm really appreciative of everything and of all the positivity Dollop is gathering in our own growth story. To call us essentially a sandwich shop is laughable."
"I am not clear why he would attack Metropolis in that way. This isn't just an investment to us, we are committed to what we do. It is our lives," he said. "Either way, I truly wish nothing but the best for Bow Truss, and Phil. They employ people in our city and keep people warm."
The relationship between Tadros and Dollop Coffee is complicated.
After dropping out of Columbia College Chicago at 19, Tadros purchased Don's Coffee House in Rogers Park in 2000 before moving on to Chase Cafe. In 2005, he opened the original Dollop Coffee and lived above it.
Don's Coffee House and Chase Cafe no longer exist but by 2011, Timeout Chicago was hailing Tadros as a "serial entrepreneur" who presided over six coffee spots: Dollop, Noble Tree, Kickstand Espresso Bar and three spots at Columbia College.
Soon after, Tadros would sell his portion of Dollop, the shop he "built with his bare hands," to focus on his digital marketing company Doejo. While the shop was profitable, it was simply time for him to "move on," he said.
Weiss bought out his "friends at the Dollop in Uptown, which was barely breaking even," according to Chicago Business Journal.
"I was actually a customer and friends with both owners. It seemed like from a quality control and operations standpoint it needed work, which is where I saw an opportunity," Weiss said.
In January of 2012, Tadros was forced to close Noble Tree, 2444 N. Clark St., citing upgrades he said were required by the city that would have cost him over $50,000. But Dollop's success inspired Tadros to stick with the coffee game with a new venture, Bow Truss.
In the summer of 2012, Bow Truss opened in Lakeview, at 2934 N. Broadway. By December, it opened its River North location, at 406 N. Wells St. It has since opened a roaster and other shops.
Meanwhile, Weiss would begin expanding the Dollop brand to three shops adding one at 345 E. Ohio St. and rebranding Kickstand, at 824 W. Belmont Ave. by 2013. It now has seven stores across the Chicago area with three more planning to open this year, according a spokeswoman.
Earlier this week, Tadros told DNAinfo he planned to more than double the number of shops by the end of this year.
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: