San Francisco-based Philz Coffee is opening two more Chicago locations, hoping to debut coffeeshops in Lincoln Park and Hyde Park in the late summer or early fall. The coffee chain, which last year announced it planned to open its first Chicago location in Wicker Park, also has plans to open in suburban Evanston. Philz has coffee shops in San Francisco, San Diego, and the Washington, D.C. areas. That includes a location inside Facebook’s campus in Menlo Park, California.
Both new Chicago locations should open in August or September, said Philz Coffee spokesperson Jolie Meschi. Philz Lincoln Park is part of the Lincoln Common development replacing Children’s Memorial Hospital at the corner of Fullerton, Halsted, and Lincoln. They’ve already announced Velvet Taco as a tenant at Lincoln Common, a 6.04-acre development. The Hyde Park location will open at 1425 E. 53rd Street and they’re looking for employees.
It’s unusual for an out-of-state chain to right away commit money to Chicago’s South Side — even in Hyde Park, near the University of Chicago. Meschi said the college atmosphere appealed to the chain. They also learned a lot when expanding in D.C. They want to endear themselves to the city and start off on the right foot. They want to establish themselves all across the city, not just in North Side pockets. Overall, Philz CEO Jacob Jaber — son of Philz found Phil Jaber — liked Chicago’s energy, friendliness, and food scene. Jacob Jaber also felt Chicago’s history and feel are similar to San Francisco.
Philz’s location at Facebook HQ has associated it with Silicon Valley: “Tech is naturally fueled by coffee, and we happened to be the coffee of choice,” said Meschi. But that connection happened by accident, the coffee chain draws customers from different professions, Meschi said. The shop specializes in pour overs and drip coffees. They don’t serve espresso, so customers won’t find cappuccinos or lattes. Each drink is brewed and ground to order. The coffees are proprietary blends picked by founder Phil Jaber himself. They’ll partner with local vendors for baked goods and breakfast sandwiches. Meschi didn’t have details on any Chicago partnerships just yet.
Chicago has plenty of homegrown chains, and Meschi said Philz will pay homage to the city’s unique Midwestern coffee culture but at the same time respect its Bay Area roots. The chain is working to finalize a lease in Evanston this week, so Philz is hesitant in sharing details. Meanwhile, Philz’s first Chicago location should open in June or July in Wicker Park.
The chain debuted in 2002 and now has more than 50 locations. Meschi said when she joined the company five years ago they had about 12. Meschi didn’t say if Philz is looking to open a specific number of shops in Chicago, but the chain’s definitely hungry for expansion.