HYDE PARK — Dollop Coffee Co. is expanding to the South Side for the first time — opening its biggest café yet next week.
Owner Dan Weiss said in a phone interview Wednesday that the new café in the University of Chicago’s Campus North Residential Commons, 5500 S. University Ave., will open next week with a target date of Tuesday.
“I was eyeing it for years,” Weiss said of Hyde Park.
He said he originally tried to come to Hyde Park in 2013 in a prime location on the corner of 53rd and Lake Park Avenue in the then-recently completed Harper Court.
“Starbucks won that space and that was kind of a bummer,” Weiss said.
He said because of his interest then, the university approached him when it was looking for a café for the new dorms, and was offering a huge space.
Weiss said the 3,600-square-foot establishment would easily be able to accommodate 100 customers inside with another 50 on the large outdoor patio.
Probably a good thing, since approximately 800 undergraduates will be living on the floors above the café when the new dorms open in the fall.
Other new businesses in the dorms are also expected to open next week, including Insomnia Cookies, a bakery that delivers cookies until 3 a.m. Other businesses include Timbuk2 and Heritage Bicycles.
Though the café is tucked away inside the inner courtyard of the new Jeanne Gang-designed building, Weiss said he hoped the community discovers it, too.
“I want it to be a neighborhood place and not just a college place,” Weiss said.
Crews were hard at work on Wednesday installing a sleek and modern looking Modbar espresso machines, which Weiss said would make baristas much more approachable because they’re not hiding behind a giant machine.
He said he’s brought back local maker Paul Leisen to design and build much of the furniture and will be experimenting with new menu items at the Hyde Park location first.
Weiss said the café needed a new vegetarian sandwich option, and Hyde Parkers would be the first to get to try a sandwich with roasted red peppers topped with tomatoes and cucumbers and a goat cheese cream cheese spread on multigrain bread or baguette.
He said the café would also offer the breakfast sandwiches, pastries and pies and quiches from Hoosier Mama offered at the cafe's other locations.
The Hyde Park location will be Dollop's first on the South Side and its largest cafe. [DNAinfo/Sam Cholke]
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