Thursday, January 31, 2008

The revival of the local coffeehouse?!

She's the spokesperson for Dunkin' Donuts, yet even celebrity chef Rachael Ray couldn't resist the local flavor with a cup of cocoa at Lakeview's Uncommon Ground. (Photo: Uncommon Ground)

This story from the New York Times comes as Starbucks is now going in a new direction in an effort to remain "on top." From the recent new marketing campaign that includes advertising for the first time in the company's history to the new budget-conscious $1 coffee, it's evident that Starbucks is finally shaken down to the bottom of the cup.

So, let's celebrate with a cup of java with the resurgence of the local coffeehouse because, after all, they've been here all along:

Atomix (1957 W. Chicago Ave., 312-666-2649). It's got a lived-in feel, a ton of espresso drinks and an authentic coffeehouse atmosphere.

Bleeding Heart Bakery (1955 W. Belmont Ave., 773-327-6931). The new Roscoe Village location continues the charge with organic goodies to go along with their multiple coffee drinks.

Bronzeville Coffee House (528 E. 43rd St., 773-536-0494). Freshly brewed coffees, homemade pastries and a never-ending schedule of community-focused events draw crowds to this South Side spot.

Iguana Cafe (517 N. Halsted St., 312-432-0663). It's got a very Euro feel, with a cozy setting that makes you want to stay all day. Also, their coffee selections are particularly strong.

Cafe Jumping Bean (1439 W. 18th St., 312-455-0019). The bottomless cup of joe, plus specialties like the Screaming Bean and Mocha Almond Delight are bonuses at this artists retreat.

Caffe de Luca (1721 N. Damen Ave., 773-342-6000). The Italian-flavored fixture in Bucktown gets the nod for selections like Bam Bam (honey, espresso, coffee) and one of the best espressos in the area.

Intelligentsia Coffee (3123 N. Broadway, 773-348-8058). The menus at many local high-end establishments proclaim "We proudly serve Intelligentsia Coffee," so you're getting it straight from the source here!

Kopi: A Travelers Cafe (5317 N. Clark St., 773-989-5674). At this Andersonville stopover, you can get up to five shots in your espresso. Also, a number of teas, specialty coffees and hot chocolate are on tap.

Star Lounge Cafe (2521 W. Chicago Ave., 773-384-7827). This Ukrainian Village newcomer has finally found a customer base for its homestyle sandwiches and unique coffee drinks.

Uncommon Ground (3800 N. Clark St., 773-929-3680 or 1401 W. Devon Ave., 773-465-9801). What started off as a simple neighborhood coffeehouse is now a phenomenon in Lakeview and Edgewater with this venue that embraces local, sustainable and fair trade products as well as local talent.

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