Colectivo Coffee Cafe will open its doors Friday in the heart of downtown Evanston at 716 Church St., site of Huerbinger Drugs soda fountain in the 1960s and Radio Shack more recently.

Designers, architects and artists for Milwaukee-based Colectivo Coffee Roasters spent the last year renovating the historic corner space at Church and Sherman to its original glory, restoring the storefront windows and original ceiling height.

The new 2,600-square-foot cafe features operable windows, Colectivo’s signature girder-style awnings and unexpected design touches like handmade tables, custom wall finishes, and prehistoric live plants.

Janice and Joe Niedzialkowski.

Designers Janice and Joe Niedzialkowski took a hands-on approach, making tables, lamps and even the shiplap panels on one wall. Joe also created two gargoyles of men hugging their coffee mugs, one looking for warmth and the other contemplation.

Gargoyle representing contemplation.

“We love returning the character into old buildings while making them uniquely ours,” says Scott Schwebel, of Colectivo. “This corner put us in the heart of the action in Evanston, with easy access for Northwestern students.”

Colectivo plans to hire more than 25 employees to staff the Evanston cafe. Store hours are 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day.

The cafe’s pastry counter.

The cafe offers a full drink menu including Session Roasted™ coffees, Nitro Cold Brew on tap, Colectivo Keg Co. house beers, Letterbox Fine Teas, along with a food menu of Troubadour bakery items, all-day breakfast and signature sandwiches made on slow-made bread.

“We want the cafe to be community-centric,” said Jeff Scott Sopko, multi-unit manager who oversees the Chicago and Evanston stores. The cafe will be distributing hot chocolate at the downtown holiday tree lighting next month and hopes to host events to support arts and other local groups.

The Evanston cafe joins three Colectivo Chicago-area locations in Andersonville, Lincoln Park and Logan Square. Colectivo plans to open a fifth Chicagoland cafe in Wicker Park in late winter 2019.

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