HYDE PARK – The owners of a cafe next to the Hyde Park Art Center are planning a grand opening next week as they prepare to offer specialty coffees, Mexican food and a “comfortable” environment.
Almendro Café will take over the former Bridgeport Coffee, 5020 S. Cornell Ave., pending a final municipal inspection of the space, co-owner Pamela Hernandez said. She owns the cafe with her mother.
Alongside coffee, iced tea, pastries and other cafe mainstays, they will reflect “a bit of our Mexican heritage” on Almendro’s menu with molletes, tortas, tamales, elotes, l ‘horchata and agua de jamaica,’ Hernandez said.
“I would say someone can eat reasonably for less than $20,” Hernandez said. “We know there are a lot of older people and students in the area, so we try to bring our prices down.”
Hernandez hopes to open the cafe next week, and when it does, neighbors will be invited to get a feel for the place during a free tasting, she said.
Almendro Café hours will be 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday through Sunday.
The cafe is next to the Hyde Park Art Center, where students are due to start their first session of paid classes next week. The cafe will remain open beyond its normal hours and will sell food to people attending art center events as needed, Hernandez said.
“We are really grateful to the art center for entrusting us with the offer [the café space]because we know there were a lot of applicants,” Hernandez said.
The art center is “super excited to have Almendro Café in our building and is looking forward to its opening,” Lorenz said in an email. “We know the community has missed having a place to grab a coffee and a bite to eat and congregate, and [we] are enthusiastic about their vision of space.
The owners are completing renovations to the space, Hernandez said. They want to create a “place where someone can feel welcome,” especially after neighbors have been isolated from each other for the past two years, she said.
“We don’t just want it to be a cafe; we want you to walk there like a house,” Hernandez said. “There will be a couch over there if you just want to be over there with your coffee. … We’re not just a retail location, we want you to feel welcome and comfortable.
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