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A spread of latte, breakfast sandwich, scones, and flat white.
Allez Cafe is open in Bucktown.
Kim Kovacik/Eater Chicago

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A Former Alinea and Blackbird Cook Rises With a Bucktown Coffee Shop

Allez Cafe brings dynamite doughnuts and breakfast sandwiches to the neighborhood.

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.

No, the caffeine bubble isn’t bursting in Wicker Park and Bucktown where a few coffee shops have closed during the past few months for a litany of reasons, whether its shifts in corporate strategies or street construction limiting parking and pedestrian traffic.

Further proof is a new coffee shop has actually opened. This one is unique and from a cook who’s worked at two of Chicago’s premier fine dining restaurants, three-Michelin-starred Alinea, and West Loop pioneer Blackbird (RIP). Jason Melamed has reemerged from the challenges of the pandemic by opening Allez Cafe, a companion to a neighboring business he recently started. Ambrosia Foods is a caterer focusing on offices and other workplaces.

This is a 50-50 collaboration with Andrew Silaghi, who has worked in coffee shops in Chicago, LA, and Romania. They’re also using Backlot Coffee at the location.

Melamed uses Ambrosia’s kitchen next door to make pastries like doughnuts and breakfast sandwiches. The breakfast sandwich, served on a Martin’s potato roll, is a crispy hashbrown cake with thick-cut bacon glazed in jalapeño jam, steamed egg, and wild ramp aioli, is the main attraction, though crullers have also gained attention. The cafe’s open until 2 p.m., which opens the space for any interested chefs who’d want to throw a pop-up dinner.

Walk through the space below.

Allez Cafe, 2241 N. Western Avenue, open 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday through Sunday.

allez cafe
Allez cafe

The cafe neighbors Ambrosia Foods.

A chef making a cruller.

Jason Melamed brings his fine dining experience from Alinea and Blackbird in making his crullers.

The finished product.
A tattooed arm holding an iced coffee drink.
The signature Cream Top.
A latte.
Selections from a full espresso bar are available.

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