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13 Chicago Food Businesses Receive $33 Million in Community Development Grants

The money is expected to serve as a catalyst for further growth along commercial corridors on the South and West Sides

A red hearse sits in front of a red brick storefront.
Carnitas Uruapan will use its community development grant to open a new location in Little Village.
Carnitas Uruapan

Chicago Department of Planning and Development (DPD) announced last week that it was distributing approximately $33 million in community development grants to 26 businesses around the city as part of a plan to boost economic recovery after the damage of the pandemic. The grants are intended to revitalize commercial corridors; in theory, it could lead to $138 million in neighborhood improvements.

Among the 26 recipients are 13 food-related businesses, including restaurants, bakeries, grocers, a brewer, two coffee roasters, an ice cream shop, and a producer of vegan meats and dairy products. Many of the businesses plan to improve existing facilities — the owners of Lindo Michoacan, a grocery store in Albany Park, for instance, will be investing in structural improvements to the building, while the Sugar Shack, an ice cream parlor in Little Village, and Chico’s Bakery in South Shore, will spend their grant money on renovations.

Other businesses plan to expand into new territory. Carnitas Uruapan, a longtime local favorite on 18th Street in Pilsen, received one of the larger grants, nearly $1.8 million, to fix up the art deco Concordia building on 26th Street in Little Village; there will be a new location of Carnitas Uruapan on the ground floor (its third; there’s another in Gage Park), plus a sidewalk cafe, and six to eight apartments on the upper floors. Meanwhile, 5 Rabbit Cervecería, a Latin American-inspired craft brewer in suburban Bedford Park best known for its Chinga Tu Pelo beer, will be starting up a small-batch brewery and full-service restaurant in Pilsen, and Magnífico Coffee Roasters will be opening a cafe in Avondale.

Jeffery Java, a coffee shop in South Shore across from a Metra station, will team up with beloved Roseland institution Old Fashioned Donuts to serve coffee and pastries to commuters and neighborhood residents, while Soul Veg City in Chatham will create a carry-out area for pre-packaged vegan meals.

A picture of a red brick building with windows around the front door and on the side wall.
An artist rendering of the new Sputnik Coffee roastery in Brighton Park.
Sputnik Coffee

Sputnik Coffee, a coffee roaster in Back of the Yards, also received one of the larger grants — $1.2 million — and will be using the money to move the roasting operation to bigger quarters in nearby Brighton Park, about five blocks from the current location. The new facility will also have a cafe and conference room that local community groups can use for meetings. Owner Vova Kagan and his brother Greesha were already planning to renovate the former warehouse, which had been vacant for 10 years and was slated for demolition, but the grant helped cover construction costs that had increased during the pandemic.

“[The grants] make projects that wouldn’t have happened a reality,” Kagan says.

Old Fashioned Donuts

11248 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60628 (773) 995-7420

5 Rabbit Brewery

6398 W 74th St, Bedford Park, IL 60638 (312) 895-9591 Visit Website

Sugar Shack

630 West 26th Street, , IL 60616 (312) 225-6568 Visit Website

Sputnik Coffee Company

2057 West 51st Street, , IL 60609 (847) 668-5575 Visit Website

Soul Veg City

203 East 75th Street, , IL 60619 (773) 224-0104 Visit Website

Carnitas Uruapan

1725 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608 (312) 226-2654 Visit Website

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