Finom Coffee, one of the city’s most unique coffeeshops — where owners and chefs Danny Speer and Rafa Esparza served specialties spiked with Hungarian flavors (like hot chicken and goulash) has closed. Finom opened in 2018 in Old Irving Park and quickly became a darling of critics who praised the concise, yet whimsical menu. The 131-year-old building where Finom sits has been sold, and Speer and Esparza declined to renew their lease at 4200 W. Irving Park Road.
The small and narrow space has a writer’s motif. It became a destination west of Irving Park and the Kennedy Expressway. The specialty coffee drinks were an antidote for the chains; one featured Jeppson’s Malort. The menu allowed Speer (a former corporate chef at Nordstrom’s) and Esparza (Kimski, Dorian’s, A10) to churn out a caliber of food that Chicagoans do not expect from a coffeeshop. And the duo accomplished this in a tiny space with an induction burner and toaster oven. When Finom opened in 2018, the Tribune dove into the building’s history.
Neither Speer or Esparza are Hungarian (Speer’s wife, Melinda, is). Still, the food impressed TimeOut critic and Eater Chicago contributor Maggie Hennessy who gave the coffeeshop four stars. Chicago magazine produced videos about the drinks. ABC Chicago’s Hungry Hound Steve Dolinsky also raved about the food.
Finom had been open for takeout during the pandemic. Speer and Esparza were not given a chance to say goodbye to customers before closing. And now, one of Chicago’s most charming cafes is no more.