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New Logan Square Coffeeshop Hopes To Remove Mental Health Stigmas

Sip of Hope, opening Thursday, is a partnership with Dark Matter Coffee

Sip of Hope Coffee Bar
Ashok Selvam
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

Sip of Hope Coffee Bar isn’t just another typical spot for caffeine in Logan Square. The cafe opens on Thursday at 3039 W. Fullerton Avenue with the goal of educating as many people as possible on mental health issues, removing stigmas around an issue many struggle with every day. The coffeeshop is operated by Hope for the Day, a charity that offers free mental health aid. Dark Matter Coffee is supplying the beans for the business with all profits going back to the charity.

The shop features a giant coffee bar inside a 1,600-square-foot space that has room for 44. All staff are certfied in Mental Health First Aid, and the shop will have materials and contact info for other organizations that can help folks, including people with suicidal thoughts. Last year, Hope for the Day — through its partners at music festivals and others across the country — distributed around 500,000 fliers, said Hope for the Day founder Jonny Boucher. It’s hard to quantify how many they’ve reached, but opening the coffeeshop will hopefully help connect them with even more people by creating an easily-accessible space where conversations can happen. People may have questions on how to use their insurance or want to know how to contact a counselor. The coffeeshop could also help those without insurance, especially those in the restaurant and bar industry.

“At the end of the day, this isn’t a drop-in clinic,” Boucher said. “This is supposed to be a bridge.”

Dark Matter has been a partner with Hope for the Day since 2013. Boucher and Dark Matter founder Jesse Diaz met at Riot Fest. Dark Matter has since put out a special brew, Sip of Hope, to help the charity. That coffee will be available on drip at the shop. It’ll also have Chocolate City, the company’s cold brew, on tap. A variation of Dark Matter’s signature agave latte, called Nectar of the Gods, will also be available. While not an official Dark Matter coffeeshop, Sip of Hope has the local roaster’s DNA. Ownership will follow sales during the first few weeks to adjust the food offerings. For now, baked goods from West Town Bakery are on offer.

Mental health advocacy groups and counseling services struggle with state funding. Those includes Between Friends, the Chicago organization that helps domestic violence victims. That’s why Boucher expanded into a coffeeshop, to diversify.

Hope for the Day doesn’t have political or religious affilations. It welcomes everyone, whether to do some work or just to take a breather. “We don’t give a shit where you’re coming from, we give a shit where you’re going,” Boucher said.

Coffee is merely the vehicle, an ice breaker to encourage a dialogue, Boucher also said. They hope to train 5,000 more people this year to make them certified in Mental Health First Aid.

Thursday will feature a ribbon cutting at 11 a.m. with local politicans. Illinois Senator Dick Durbin is expect to show up.

“The hope is to reach as many as possible,” Boucher said.