LAKEVIEW — The Dollop Coffee in Lakeview will close Sunday, one year after revamping the coffee shop to focus on employee training.
With the lease up at 824 W. Belmont Ave., owner Dan Weiss decided it was time to move on from the storefront just east of Clark Street.
The parting, while part of Dollop's growing pains, is bittersweet, Weiss said.
"It's not just a business to me — it never was," Weiss said. "It's a strange feeling. Kind of sad, like a pet dying."
Weiss posted his farewell to the Lakeview spot in a Facebook tribute:
There are 10 Dollop locations in Chicago and Evanston, including a bakeshop in Ukrainian Village. With Sunday's closure, the closest Dollop to Lakeview is the company's original cafe, 4181 N. Clarendon Ave., in Buena Park.
Weiss, who moonlighted for 10 years as indie rapper Verbal Kent, helped open Kickstand coffee shop at the Belmont Avenue location in 2010. After buying the Dollop brand three years later, he renamed the coffee shop at 824 W. Belmont Ave. and began his steady expansion of Dollop shops.
In November 2015, Weiss renovated the Lakeview shop, adding a huge portrait of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen and a central training location for all Dollop employees. The cafe began to close in the afternoon to allow for the training sessions, but the business model didn't really work, Weiss said.
"It also didn't make sense for it to just be a cafe," Weiss said. "It wasn't a busy enough location for that."
Dollop will move training to its cafe at 55 W. Monroe in the Loop. With a full kitchen and easier access to multiple "L" train routes, "it just made every bit of sense" to switch, Weiss said.
Read his full statement on the Lakeview closure:
I'm writing to announce that Dollop is moving its training program downtown to our 55 W. Monroe location, which means that our last day at 824 W. Belmont will be this Sunday, February 19. The time has come to train our growing staff at a larger, busier location where baristas can not only learn the way of the grind, but also how to prepare our breakfast sandwiches, sling and talk about our fresh baked pastries, and train in a live environment. Dollop is growing (soon I will have exciting news about our growth) and our lease at 824 W. Belmont is up, so it seems like the right time to make this move.
From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank everyone in Lakeview who has supported this gem over the years from its first days as Kickstand Espresso Bar to its metamorphosis into Dollop HQ. It's been a great ride.
I fell in love with coffee and with all of you when I was working at this cafe in 2009. It's where I found joy in this industry and decided I would jump into it head first. I learned that I could sit in a cafe all day and all night and survive purely off the energy that people brought into the room. I really love this business. Without my time and experiences at Dollop on Belmont I know for certain I would be nothing more than a listless, old man rapper guy from Rogers Park, who owned...zero coffee shops.
Goodbye Lakeview, till we meet again...
Dan J Weiss
CEO, Dollop Coffee