BEVERLY — The mother-daughter team of Margot and Ayisha Strotter will open a second location of Ain't She Sweet Cafe in Beverly.
Her mother opened the first Ain't She Sweet Cafe in August 2006 near 45th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue in Bronzeville. The cafe moved to its present Bronzeville location at 526 E. 43rd St. in 2011.
Ayisha Strotter joined forces with her mother shortly after the cafe debuted. The pair will split duties once the new location opens with Ayisha Strotter overseeing operations in Beverly while Margot Strotter remains at the mother ship.
"It took two years of convincing my mom," Ayisha Strotter said of the Beverly cafe.
Margot Strotter worked as an occupational therapist in Bronzeville before opening her cafe. She noticed that there were few dining options besides burgers, fried chicken and pizza near her workplace.
She initially was planning to buy another Bronzeville cafe. But when that deal fell apart, she ventured out on her own, focusing on gourmet sandwiches and wraps, said Ayisha Strotter, who was raised in Beverly.
"We don't fry anything," Ayisha Strotter said.
The business received a bit of a boost in May 2012 when the television show "Chicago's Best" highlighted its Caribbean jerk chicken wrap. This wrap remains a top seller, though the cafe also boasts of its fresh salads and smoothies.
The menus in Bronzeville and Beverly will be the same except for the addition of coffee on Western Avenue. Sip & Savor, a local coffee shop, is next door to Ain't She Sweet on 43rd Street.
The original location doesn't sell coffee as a result of its neighbor, but Sip & Savor's coffee will be sold at the new location in Beverly. Hard-packed ice cream will also be available, which is somewhat different than the soft-serve variety at Janson's next door.
Ayisha Strotter graduated from Beverly's Kellogg Elementary School and later Morgan Park Academy. She's now raising her family in Beverly and believes her neighborhood connections will help her business.
In fact, Ayisha Strotter said either she or her mother are almost always in the restaurant greeting customers. She believes these types of interactions keep customers coming back, and she's eager to offer that same level of service in Beverly — just as soon as the plumbing work is done.
"We have a very, very loyal customer base," she said.
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