In Noble Square, a new cafe serving coffee, doughnuts, bagels, and more has opened.
In late May, Engine Coffee at 1109 N. Ashland Avenue opened. The business is owned by Carly Boers and Matt Brown, who are new to the coffee industry.
Boers is a freelance journalist who has written about the Chicago food and restaurant industry and was formerly the dining editor of Chicago Magazine. Brown previously managed several Chicago-area properties, including the building where Engine resides.
During the pandemic, a furniture dealer vacated the space, and Brown had difficulty finding a tenant. Then he began to consider that it might be a good location for a coffee shop, especially for Noble Square residents living east of Ashland Avenue.
“I’m aware that there are numerous coffee shops in the Ashland and Division areas, but I felt that this area was underserved, and I wanted something a bit more low-key,” he said.
The credit goes to Quinn Myers/Block Club Matt Brown and Carly Boers, co-owners of Chicago Engine Coffee, stand in front of their new coffee shop in Noble Square.
Brown stated that he has hired experienced baristas with greater coffee expertise to assist him. Boers has utilised her understanding of the local food scene to establish relationships with bakers and businesses for Engine’s food offerings.
The shop sells doughnuts by Brite Donuts and Baked Goods, breakfast tacos by Cafe Tola, and bagels by Pretty Good Bagels on Saturdays. Additionally, Brown and Boers offers a pimento cheese spread from Bif Cheese, a local company that was also founded during the pandemic. The origin of coffee beans is Big Shoulders.
The focus on food is what Brown and Boers hope will distinguish their store from others in the area.
“I will go out of my way to visit a coffee shop that I know has delicious food, and I can’t be the only one. Boers stated, “Therefore, I began pondering whom we could reach out to that perhaps nearby locations lack.”
Brown stated that the inspiration for Engine’s name was the nearby fire station. A photograph of Brown’s firefighter grandfather is also displayed in the shop. And the espresso machine that Brown ultimately purchased is bright red, matching the colour of the store’s entrance.
Brown stated, “We simply began brainstorming and came up with Engine Coffee.”
The credit goes to Quinn Myers/Block Club Noble Square’s Chicago Engine Coffee, 1109 N. Ashland Avenue, opened in late May.
Local artists will also be featured in a rotating exhibition at Engine. Through July, the shop will host an exhibition featuring the work of Black femme and non-binary artists later this month.
Boers stated that Engine will also host early morning family events, such as regular storytimes.
“As parents, we are aware that we are up at the crack of dawn searching for free entertainment,” she laughed.