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Marcus Lemonis-Backed Coffee Shop Arriving in Wicker Park Instead of Bow Truss

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The coffee drama continues

Red Beard Coffee Traders
Daniel Gerzina

A coffee roaster new to the Chicago market is taking over the Wicker Park space where Bow Truss Coffee Roasters intended to open a shop. And it may not be just in Wicker Park, as Red Beard Coffee Traders intends to open multiple shops in Chicago. Red Beard’s Steve Sims said it will be three or four months until they open at the former dentist’s office at 1948 W. North Ave.

Red Beard will specialize in “high-end, specialty coffees,” said Sims, who just wasn’t ready to share further details. Though Red Beard is a new name, Sims isn’t new to the coffee scene. He’s part of Bodhi Leaf Coffee Traders out of Southern California. They have coffee bars in Orange, Calif., and Anaheim Hills, Calif. And yes: Sims does sport a long, red beard.

For his part, Sims said he didn’t know about the history of the space and the Bow Truss saga. “Oh the drama, just selling good coffee, what a nightmare,” Bow Truss’ Phil Tadros texted, who admitted that he wasn’t working on the Wicker Park space any longer. Bow Truss has been looking for investors to reinvigorate their financials and overall image.

Tadros, for his part, texted that he didn’t know about Red Beard. He did relay that Marcus Lemonis, the host of The Profit, who was interested in purchasing Bow Truss “was holding that space up for/ from us.” Sims said that he couldn’t yet divulge if Red Beard was connected to Lemonis.

This makes this next bit of news even more intriguing: Lemonis’ ML Food Group, based out of Blue Bell, Pa., is listed as Red Beard’s LLC manager, according to the Illinois Secretary of State. Robert Gerber, Lemonis’ attorney in his legal proceedings involving Bow Truss, is listed as the company’s agent.

UPDATE: Lemonis called on Thursday morning and confirmed his involvement. Sims and Bodhi will be the subject of a June episode of The Profit. Lemonis said he plans to open seven to eight Red Beards in the next 12 months in Chicago. The Wicker Park shop should open before the TV episode airs. He also plans a coffee roasting plant. As far as the lawsuits involving Bow Truss and Tadros? Lemonis isn’t talking: “I don’t even want to have a conversation about Phil. He’s a waste of my time,” he said.

Illinois Secretary of State

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