Four women have teamed up to open a new specialty coffee and tea shop in the space that once housed Grumpy’s at the Arcade Building, 1 Riverside Rd. in downtown Riverside.
Urban Leaf and Bean Café could open as soon as Christmas, co-owner Valerie Presto told the Landmark. Building contractors are in the process of applying for permits to commence the build-out of the shop, she said.
While they wait for construction to begin, Presto and others will be on hand to meet future customers outside their future home at the corner of Riverside Road and East Quincy Street at tonight’s Holiday Stroll in downtown Riverside, which is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m.
The shop will sell coffee made from beans roasted in small batches every couple of days, teas hand-blended by Presto herself, and smoothies. In addition, the shop will sell deli sandwiches and pastries made in-house, said Presto.
“We want to go back to the nice mom-and-pop ways, where customers can be comfortable,” said Presto. At places like Starbucks you’re just a number. Here we’re friends and family.”
Coffee beans from Hawaii will be roasted by staff every few days, said Presto, because that’s the way to serve it at its freshest.
“After three days, coffee starts to lose its flavor, so every three days we’ll start [roasting] a new batch,” Presto said.
Presto, a former Berwyn resident who lives in Chicago, is joined in the venture by her daughter Christina, a Forest Park resident; her friend Dannette Massarello of Brookfield; and Yvonne Agnello-Adams, a Lombard resident who has been active for many years with the Brookfield Jaycees.
According to Presto, the other women are the bakers, although everyone will chip in on the various parts of the operation. Presto’s specialty is blending tea, something she says she’s been doing for the past three years. Her organic tea ingredients come from an Oregon-based grower.
In designing the interior for the shop, Presto said the plan was to let the building’s historic character shine through. The walls will feature exposed brick and, of course, the windows will their retain stained glass. Presto said they initially hoped to keep the original 1870s-era ceiling, but its condition was just too far gone.
Presto said she’s had her eye on the site for a while.
“I’ve been going past there for years,” she said. “I love Riverside and think it’s a wonderful family, quaint little town. I saw them doing the tuckpointing [last fall] and envisioned this spot for what we wanted to do.”
Urban Leaf and Bean was incorporated on Nov. 18, according to Illinois Secretary of State records. Plans are in the works for a website.