Friends Mayra Hernandez and Jesse Iniguez have been brewing up their plan for the Back of the Yards neighborhood since March 2016. Hernandez is a self-taught barista, learning how to make coffee using Internet videos. She befriended a Mexican housekeeper who worked for Iniquez. The housekeeper’s family grew coffee back in the Mexican state of Chiapas, according to the Tribune.
And so, the idea for Back of the Yards Coffee Co. was born. 5he full-service coffee shop and roastery opened last week at 2059 W. 47th St. Iniguez and Hernandez both grew up in the neighborhood. They’ve told various media, including ABC Chicago, about how opening a coffee shop can help change the area’s image. The South Side neighborhood is part of the New City community, along with Canaryville. The community has a higher crime rate compared to other Chicago areas. But there’s more to the community than that, the coffee shop’s owners said. They’ve set out to show Chicago that there are many sides to the neighborhood.
They’ve raised more than $15,000 to open the shop, rallying locals and bringing a sense of community pride. They’re also drawing high school students from Back of the Yards College Prep right across the street. Pleasant House Bakery in Pilsen is supplying the breads for the coffee shop. The menu also includes waffles, bagels, toasts, and sandwiches.
Much of Chicago takes coffee for granted, but not in this neighborhood. Check out this new coffee shop contender to see how a great coffee shop can be a community beacon.
Back of the Yards Coffee Co., 2059 W. 47th St., (773) 475-6381, open 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends.