WEST TOWN — A "company clubhouse" from one of the city's up-and-coming restaurant groups has proved to be so cool it's being thrown open to the public.
Werewolf Coffee Bar intends to open by the end of the month at 1765 N. Elston Ave. Designed as a "company clubhouse" for employees of DMK Restaurants, which has offices in the same building, it will feature top local products, including pastries from Floriole Cafe & Bakery, as well as a barista station made from a converted Wonder Bread delivery truck.
Yes, parked right in the center of the coffee shop.
DMK Restaurants co-owner David Morton called it "a place for amusement, social time for our staff," adding, "We think it's come out so cool we want to share it with everyone."
According to Morton, the Wonder Bread truck was the contribution of their partner Alex Pearsall, who owns the building and picked up the truck when it was about to be abandoned by the previous owner.
As they were all working on the concept for the coffee shop, Morton added, "We went down the rabbit hole of how we were to make this coffee shop different. Certainly, the Wonder truck was a source of inspiration as a starting point, and we're thrilled with how it came out."
The self-proclaimed "agnostic coffee shop" will offer nostalgia-laced grab-and-go items like Pop-Tarts and Swedish fish along with daily rotating toasts with various toppings, courtesy of Floriole.
Coffees will be both hot drip and cold brew on tap, from Chicago-based Dark Matter to Stumptown from Oregon.
It's a DMK Restaurants center, as it's also a short walk around the corner from Ada Street, 1664 N. Ada St. The restaurant group launched in 2009 with DMK Burger Bar in Lakeview and has since opened Fish Bar, Henry’s, The Rec Room, County BBQ, mk The Restaurant and tavernonna, in addition to Ada Street.
Morton said the fast-growing company now has hundreds of employees, and the coffee shop grew out of the corporate goal to make DMK "the best place to work for." Perks includes company yoga classes and book clubs.
"It's very much a lifestyle business," he added.
As the first DMK coffee shop, he said, Werewolf would also serve as a show room for other potential investors.
The name comes from the werewolf's nature as a shape-shifter, with the coffee shop expected to continue changing to suit the times.
Construction is expected to be completed by the end of next week, with an opening before the end of the month. Hours to the public will be 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays.