NOTE: The cafe will be open to the general public from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The weekend is mostly for friends and family. Hourly reservations will open up on midnight on Sunday for regular hours that start on Monday.
Forget eggnog and reindeer — this December is for drinking hot cups of coffee in the presence of cuddly cats. And that’s what Chicagoans can do starting on Saturday when Windy Kitty Cat Cafe and Lounge opens its doors at 1760 W. North Avenue in Bucktown. While the city won’t let workers prepare any food on premises, they’ve worked out an agreement with Gallery Cafe, the coffee shop a few doors west, to supply specialty drinks with unique cat prints.
Windy Kitty is working with Alive Rescue in Roscoe Village to supply the cats for adoption. However, they’re working with Gallery’s co-owner Eugene Wilson to supply the drinks. Customers will order at Windy Kitty and workers will send the orders up to Gallery via Slack, the communication application. A Gallery employee will then walk the drinks over. Wilson said he and his brother are “beyond excited.” When they took over the cafe in April 2016, they were thinking of ways Gallery could give back to the community. Through Windy Kitty, they appear to have found a way.
“We should be able to handle the volume that’s going to come in from [the cafe] and what we have here,” Wilson said.
They’ll offer a condensed menu for cat cafe customers: drip coffee, teas, cappuccinos, and lattes. By using a Ripple Maker, baristas can turn any photo into a coffee print, an image the floats over a drink’s foam. Wilson bought the machine to bring art from locals to Gallery’s drinks. It’s a beautiful coincidence that they can use the machine to bring photos of cats to the drinks served at Windy Kitty. They’ll also offer pastries and muffins. If food is popular enough, Wilson said they may tote the pastries over in a special cat cafe cart. The cafes are only 26 steps away from each other.
Wilson had kind words for Jenny Tiner, Windy Kitty’s co-owner. Tiner approached Wilson after the city told her that they couldn’t make food: “She really was courageous in the fact the just went after what she wanted to do despite the odds,” Wilson said.
Gallery will hold an artists’ appreciation night to coincide with Saturday’s opening. Check back for more details.