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A Cafe Con Leche-Inspired 'Xpress' Is Coming To Flash Taco's Basement

By Alisa Hauser | April 26, 2017 1:24pm
 A sneak peek of grab-and-go juices and Mexican gelatin that will be sold at Cafe con Leche Express
A sneak peek of grab-and-go juices and Mexican gelatin that will be sold at Cafe con Leche Express
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Courtesy of Ulysses Salamanca

WICKER PARK  — Aiming to open in the basement of Flash Taco at Wicker Park's main hub in July, Cafe con Leche Xpress will offer breakfast sandwiches, coffee, Mexican milkshakes or licuados and popular street food like sweet corn in a cup, owner Ulysses Salamanca said Wednesday. 

The new location at 1576½ N. Milwaukee Ave. — in the former Underdog spot below Flash Taco — will be owned by Salamanca and an investor. 

Salamanca operates longtime Wicker staple Flash Taco, which opened at 1576 N. Milwaukee Ave. in 1998 and Flash Taco South Shore, 2247 E. 71st St., which opened in 2015.

Cafe con Leche Xpress is not connected to the original — and only — Cafe con Leche in Logan Square, at 2714 N. Milwaukee Ave., according to Esam Hami, the owner of that spot. 

Hami and Salamanca co-founded the original Cafe con Leche in 2001, but Salamanca sold his shares of the business to Hami about five years later. Salamanca went on to independently start another Cafe con Leche at 1732 N. Milwaukee Ave. That second spot closed in 2013.

Salamanca praised Hami's success.

"Cafe con Leche has been a rock-solid institution in Logan Square. Their breakfast sandwiches are popular," Salamanca said.

Similar to Flash Taco, the Cafe con Leche Xpress will be geared to people who are on a budget or don't want to spend a lot of money on food.

"Flash Taco is still a to-go spot where you can get affordable food at the corner that has become so high-end and expensive. Cafe con Leche Xpress will also be affordable," Salamanca said, referring to the changing Milwaukee, Damen and North avenues intersection that recently added an expanded Starbucks and a pair of boutique hotels.

Salamanca said the menu will offer steak or ropa vieja sandwiches, Cuban sandwiches and breakfast sandwiches with ham, egg and cheese, along with street foods, Mexican gelatin, fruit juices and milkshakes.

If everything goes as planned, Salamanca said Cafe con Leche Xpress will open in July.

The hours will be 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. After 5 p.m. it will reopen as an extension of Flash Taco, which is popular with late-night crowds and often runs out of seats.

Brunch will be served and delivered on weekends via GrubHub and UberEats, Salamanca said.