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Goose Island Coffee Shop Debuts as Area Preps for Transformation

Passion House Coffee Roasters has opened its third cafe

A black west coast-style building housing a coffee shop.
Passion House Coffee Roasters is open on Goose Island.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago
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.

The Goose Island location of Passion House Coffee Roasters opened earlier this week off Division Street, just east of Elston Avenue. It’s the funky cafe’s third location, joining the original in Logan Square and inside the Politan Row food hall in West Loop. The opening is a larger sign of what developers plan for the area as they see untapped potential on the manmade island intersected by Division, between Elston and Halsted Street.

Passion House is the second restaurant in the area, joined only by Goose Island Shrimp House, the 46-year-old fried seafood emporium that’s open late night. Kendall College is nearby on the perimeter of the island’s southern boundaries, but plans to soon move its culinary and hospitality programs to South Michigan Avenue after its acquisition by National Louis University. Developers are looking at more upscale food options for Goose Island. Hogsalt Hospitality’s Brendan Sodikoff (Au Cheval, Bavette’s) is teaming up with developer R2 Companies on a massive project that should further redefine the area in between Wicker Park, Lincoln Park, and Cabrini-Green.

Josh Millman, Passion House’s founder, is delighted to work with R2. They wanted “a cutting-edge coffee company” for the island, Millman said. Often, tech companies — like the ones R2 likely wants to court for its nearby office space — view good coffee shops as a necessary amenity. For example, San Francisco-based Philz Coffee (which over the summer opened its first Chicago location, just down Division in Wicker Park) has a cafe inside Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California. DMK Restaurant Group opened Werewolf Coffee Bar in 2017 in the shadow of the proposed Lincoln Yards site.

“The businesses on Goose Island are innovative in their own rights and we get to be the pioneers of Goose Island with coffee and food,” Millman said.

Passion House debuted in 2011, then opened a coffee shop 2017 in Logan Square and has reinvented itself in a short time by adding more food options. Customers will find smoked chicken salad sandwiches and an heirloom tomato salad frittata on the menu. The food is from Charlie Trowbridge, who worked at Blackbird. The coffee is roasted in Chicago, and the menu offers creative drinks like a lavender latte.

Most Chicago restaurant owners know the area as they stop by a few doors down to pick up supplies at Restaurant Depot. Stroll through the space and check out the food and drink below. Passion House’s third cafe is now open.

Passion House Coffee Roasters, 1200 N. Branch, open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.

Black brick coffee shop with “1200” address in right upper corner with doors and windows open, plus green bushes.
Passion House Coffee Roasters has opened a third cafe.
A cafe with round tables, coffee counters, open garage-door style windows.
The design is modern and clean, a place for customers to get work done.
A modern-style cafe with round tables, a coffee counter, two windows, and modern light fixtures.
Passion House features a full menu and creative coffee drinks.
The exterior of Passion House coffee roasters on Goose Island, a black brick building with a mural.
Passion House is one of two restaurants on Goose Island on Division Street.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago
A green coffee drink in a white cup on a black saucer.
Matcha latte
A cold coffee drink with a head of foam in a stemless wine glass.
Nitro cold brew
Two stemless wine glasses filled with regular and red sparkling iced teas.
Sparkling iced teas.
A hot coffee latte with dried lavender sprinkled on the head.
Lavender latte
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago
An espresso and glass of sparkling water on a wooden tray.
Cadillac Rainbows single-origin espresso.
Roasted maitake mushroom, rapini, heirloom tomato salad frittata.
A cross-section of a smoked chicken salad sandwich on toasted bread.
Smoked chicken salad sandwich