Chicago Do-Good Cafes

Eats & Treats

As many times as I have tried to make the switch to tea, it’s clear that coffee and I will go together for the foreseeable future. However, our relationship has definitely changed. Back in the day, I didn’t care as much about the kind of coffee that I was drinking because cream and sugar could help mask the taste of even the worst brew. However, during Whole 30, I had to learn to drink my coffee black which forced me to turn my attention towards tastier, higher quality blends.

Beyond flavor, I also spent a lot of time researching brands of coffee that are fair trade or have a charitable component. I’ve actually come up with a pretty good list that I plan to share in a future post. While building that list, I also start tracking local coffee shops that do good in the community.

Here are five locations in Chicago where you can go for a cup of coffee (and more) that will recharge your life and change someone else’s.

Kusanya Cafe (825 W. 69th, Chicago)

After a recent trip to the Whole Foods in Englewood, I decided to make a stop at Kusanya to recharge with a mocha. This coffee shop slash community gathering place opened in 2013 and is a 501(c)3 nonprofit. On the website, they talk a lot about the community atmosphere within the place and I can certainly vouch for that. There is such a peaceful yet collaborative vibe there. I look forward to returning with my laptop in tow.

Hope Cafe (2431 W. Roosevelt, Chicago)

My friends over at The Perfect Cadence hipped me to Hope Cafe over a year ago. This cafe is located on Chicago’s West Side and supports the Chicago Hope Academy, a private high school aimed at providing equal education access to students in Chicago. Besides serving delicious coffee and pastries, you can also rent out the space for events ranging from baby showers to intimate dinners.

Inspiration Kitchens (3504 W. Lake, Chicago)

Inspirations Kitchens is a full-service restaurant versus cafe only, but there was no way that I was leaving them off of this list. I really wish that I lived closer to this place because the food is SO good. My husband loves the Shrimp and Grits, which is a big compliment since he’s from the Gulf Coast. Not only is the staff pleasant and the food delicious, but Inspiration Kitchens also helps people build the skills and experience needed for a culinary career.

(TFG Tip: Make a day of it and visit the Garfield Park Conservatory while you’re in the neighborhood.)

TOMS Roasting Company (1611 N. Damen, Chicago)

It is pretty cool to see TOMS expand their do-good business model beyond shoes and sunglasses. In keeping with their 1-for-1 donation model, each TOMS Roasting Co. purchase helps to provide safe drinking water to a person in need. Their cafe in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood gives visitors a chance to grab a latte while also shopping the latest collection.

Curt’s Cafe (Two locations in Evanston)

Similar to Inspiration Kitchens, Curt’s Cafe is a full-service restaurant that serves premium coffee drinks. Curt’s Cafe employs student-trainees between the ages of 15-24 who are living in at-risk situations. Through their three-month training program, they are able to gain on-the-job training, life skills, and prepare to transition into full-time employment. I have not yet visited Curt’s but the food (and the mission) come highly recommended.

Have you visited any of these locations? Do you have others to share? Leave me a comment and let me know!

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