So you've outgrown your undergraduate craving for barely-lit booths and surly baristas, but your conscience can't part with that warm fuzzy feeling attached to an independently brewed latte. Brothers John and Brian Kim provide a solution with this grown-up's cult cafe, smack in the middle of the historic Evanston Main Street shopping district and steps from the Purple Line.
The storefront loft, walled on two sides by windows, lends a bright, airy atmosphere perfect for hours of studying, meeting with friends or cozying up with a novel. Organic, fair trade Metropolis coffees meet standard fare: choose from locally baked sweets or a modest array of heartier options, including spinach-feta pies or turkey chili from Kim's Kitchen and ice cream served year-round. Between the morning and late afternoon rushes, regulars (mostly grad students and bespectacled bibliophiles) read, hook up to free wifi, or play board games selected from the cafe's hefty collection.
John, a former pastor, channels the genuine, never-forgets-a-face friendliness of his clergy days into his new line of work, where he's teamed with his younger brother, a pro golfer, to bring new life to this North Shore staple. The duo welcome local artists and musicians and even host regular poetry readings (final Friday of each month) organized by Evanston's RHINO magazine.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Julia Steinberger