Monday, October 22, 2012

Former Momofuku, Schwa Chef Set To Open Offbeat Pastry & Coffee Shop In Roscoe Village

Jonathan Ory of Bad Wolf Coffee at Star Lounge Coffee Bar. (Photo: 312 Dining Diva)

In the late 1990s, there was a really cool coffeehouse in Roscoe Village called Kerouac Jack's, named after the famed novelist and poet. The colorful spot was popular for its regular poetry events and strong coffee, but unfortunately had some terrible pastries.

Coffee connoisseur Jonathan Ory doesn't remember Kerouac's, but he feels that the neighborhood is in desperate need of a good coffeehouse serving good pastries.

"You can get one or the other, but you cannot get both in this area and most parts in town," he says, adding, "That's why I want to open a coffeehouse."

When Ory opens Bad Wolf Coffee with wife Sarah in mid- to late-November a block away from the old Kerouac Jack's, his plan is to serve house-made pastries with coffee "the way it is supposed to be made."

The self-taught chef worked his way up from the bottom, taking jobs from busboy to dishwasher until he eventually found his way inside the kitchens of a number of highly regarded restaurants. He's had stints at the likes of the now-defunct, high-end Heat sushi restaurant, as well as Atlanta's Restaurant Eugene, Schwa, and most recently Momofuku Ko in New York.

He worked mostly as a savory chef, but because he also helped with pastries, he found himself drawn to that end of the kitchen. Those skills, coupled with a strong work ethic, no doubt are what will set Bad Wolf apart from similar shops around town.

"I've done all the foams and gelees (with desserts), but what I really want to do is something simple," Ory says about his upcoming menu that will include a financier of honey, almonds and saffron; carrot cake bagel with whipped cream cheese; and a rum baba of preserved lemons and grains of paradise (black pepper spices).

This may sound a little fancy early in the morning for those heading to the nearby Brown Line, but Ory believes that the real stars will be the coffee and tea programs. He's taking intensive, interactive classes with Counter Culture Coffee and Rishi tea company so that he can learn how to best make their products.

When Bad Wolf opens, look for four-ounce cortados (an espresso cut with a small amount of warm milk to reduce acidity), six-ounce cappuccinos and eight-ounce lattes. And once the spot has found its groove, look for Ory to crank out hand-crafted candies made with exotic ingredients.


Mike Gebert said...

It was actually Kerouac Jack's, and I miss that place too. especially given the generic sports bar in the space now.

312 Dining Diva said...

Yeah, you're right! I tried to Google it with no luck. Waterhouse, that new sports bar, is such an eyesore in comparison! :/