What if your morning pastry was sugar and calorie-free but tasted just as good? That's Homaro Cantu's vision. The Moto and iNG chef/owner's next move is bringing the taste-altering techniques he uses on the high-end testing menus at iNG to a different clientele—coffee and pastry shops. He's negotiating a lease in the West Loop for the first location, which he hopes to open in February.
"At first glance it will appear to be a normal coffee and snack shop," he says, "but once you look a little deeper there's really some drastic changes we've put in here."
Cantu's shops will offer both traditional sugary goods and sugar-free options made with the miracle berry, the West African fruit that changes sour tastes to sweet.
They'll also serve coffee drinks, sandwiches (such as chicken and waffle), smoothies, sodas, and snacks for sit-down, grab-and-go, and delivery. The shops will feature indoor farms with fresh "exotic" herbs.
Cantu is partnering with "a well-known name in Chicago" but won't reveal the person's name yet. He can't reveal the name of the shops either.
He sees the shops as an opportunity to showcase his cooking style to people that may not have had a chance to experience it yet.
"I run two very high-end restaurants (iNG and Moto) and that's not always accessible to everybody," Cantu says. "This is our way of answering that accessible market with something that's innovative and different." Stay tuned.
· Homaro Cantu's new 'good for you' restaurant [Crain's]
· All Homaro Cantu Coverage [-ECHI-]