There's plenty of history on Taylor Street, but not many coffee shops. The Coffee Alley, a brand new concept nestled among the pasta and taverns of Little Italy, opened December 20 to fill one void and complement another. The building has stood since 1887, and husband-and-wife team Bill and Sara Roberts designed the space to highlight the historic location.
The "old alley" theme flaunts hand-layed cobblestone floors, exposed century-old brick walls, copper-ceiling ventilation, and retro street lamps. The clientele merges old and young, as local police and business owners seamlessly mingle with UIC students and tourists in the 40-seat space.
The menu is a simple mix of specialty coffee drinks (courtesy of Philadelphia's La Colombe) like a coconut cream white chocolate latte, to go with breakfast sandwiches, paninis, pastries, salads, and nibbles like panini sticks. They're open from 6:30 AM until 9 or 10 PM daily, late hours providing time to showcase local musicians in open mics and other performances. UIC student art hangs on the retro-fitted walls.
The location was vacant for six years before The Coffee Alley set up shop. Here's to hoping it won't be vacant again any time soon.
[Photo: The Coffee Alley]