Felipe Caro (Picante, Authentaco) has new plans for his former Delish Diner that shuttered earlier this year on Division Street in Wicker Park. Come November, Caro and a partner plan to open Brew-Heria, a Latin American-inspired cafe serving coffee, tea and beer. The name's a take on the Spanish word for witchcraft (brujería) mixed in with a reference to brewed coffee and beer. They could keep up with the supernatural theme and open on Diá de los Muertos (Nov. 1, Day of the Dead).
Partner Raul Jaimes, a restaurant and nightclub veteran who's spent time at Aviary and others, said he met Caro back in 1994 at the Latin Chicago Theater Company, which now houses a Pot Belly at 1625 N. Damen Ave. Caro told Jaimes that he needed some help on reconcepting Delish, which served diner comfort food and had been around since 2011.
"In concepting, we fleshed out what we wanted," Jaimes said. "And when it came to a cafe we wanted an extensive restaurant and bar experience. We decided we should do it kind of in the spirit of European, international cafes — even South America — that serve booze and good coffee."
They're talking with Dark Matter Coffee to come up with some special blends, and one of their 12 taps will dispense Dark Matter Chocolate City iced coffee. Another tap with shoot soda water, as they'll make homemade sodas (which Jaimes said will also be used in cocktails). The 10 remaining taps will feature beers with a Chicago and local brewery focus.
For the food side, they'll serve a diverse selection of Latin American comfort food that will change seasonally. It's counter service, with runners dropping off food at the tables. Jaimes calls it an homage to those Latin American cafeterias, and they'll serve items like Cuban sandwiches and picanha (Brazilian top sirloin).
The experience at Brew-Heria will change depending on the time of day and Jaimes wants to feature nightly dinner specials. There's seating for about 80 inside, in addition to outdoor space, and they've kept the booths from the old Delish space but are redecorating. Expect dark, comforting woods and works from local artists on the walls. They want to eventually host art shows and perhaps live music.
Jaimes returned to the cafe's name, talking about how he and Caro wanted create something magical, and delicious (no, not like that cereal). But there's also a supernatural angle: Delish's former workers — and Caro — said the building was haunted. Check back later for more on Brew-Heria as construction continues right next to Caro's Picante taco stand on Division Street.