Although initially shooting for a mid May opening, La Colombe finally opened the doors to its first-ever Chicago cafe and roaster on Friday, adding a gourmet coffee option in the heart of the West Loop.
Located on the corner of Randolph and Morgan, La Colombe throws some serious competition at Starbucks, which has two locations within a couple of blocks (one is directly across the street). The space has loads of natural light from large windows and skylights. The exposed wood beams and duct work give it an industrial feel while red and gray subway tiles, glass block, blonde wood floors and a green and brown marble-topped bar add a sleek European edge.
La Colombe doesn't offer Wi-Fi, instead focusing on drip coffee and espresso drinks as well as pastries from Alliance Bakery. The cafe also installed a large red roaster set just behind the counter. This allows La Colombe to act as an atelier to better work with local restaurants. "The roaster is our kitchen to bring in chefs and make coffee to match their food," said La Colombe co-founder Jean Philippe Iberti.
Iberti said a main goal of La Colombe is to be a bridge between the farm and the kitchen in the sense that they source coffee from some of the top producers in the world and even focus on smaller lesser-known farms. Case in point: La Colombe is the only U.S. roaster buying beans directly from Haiti.
La Colombe has already made an impact in the city by supplying its coffee to some of the top restaurants including Next, Sprout, Alinea, GT Fish & Oyster, The Bristol and inovasi, but also some other more casual places including Earwax Cafe and Hannah's Bretzel. And it's already proven it has strong influence in the marketplace, having ousted Stumptown Coffee as the supplier for Ian Schrager's forthcoming Pump Room and Public Hotel; Stumptown was originally announced as being the preferred supplier, but La Colombe is taking its place.
La Colombe is open seven days a week, starting at 7 a.m. (8 a.m. on weekends) and stays open until 7 p.m.
· La Colombe Opening a Cafe, Roaster in West Loop [~EChi~]
· Ian Schrager Talks About the New Pump Room [~EChi~]