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The Best of Glenview: Cups o’ Joe

A guide for caffeine addicts and pioneers of the palate.

Each month, Glenview Patch will poke around to discover the best of Glenview. The series begins with touring the must-try coffee spots. Take a seat, grab a cup and drink in the caffeine.

1) The Best Cappuccino

Via Gelato & Café
1853 Tower Dr.
847-729-7088
Sun. – Thurs., 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Fri. – Sat., 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Ciao! Enjoy a taste of Italy at the quaint and homey Via Gelato & Café, located in the heart of The Glen. The traditional Italian cappuccino, as well as its 24 seasonal flavors of gelato, rivals those found internationally.

Owner and manger Ron Dean purchases his beans from a local Italian coffee roaster. Dean came up with the idea of developing his cappuccino recipes after he traveled through Europe. The best shot of espresso, he said, must be brewed no later than three to seven days after the beans have been roasted.

2) The Best Socially Responsible Coffee

Sweet Dreams Organic Bakery & Café
1107 Waukegan Rd.
847-657-1092
Mon. – Sat., 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Sun., 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Sweet dreams make for sweet days.

Sweet Dreams Organic Bakery & Café recognizes the value of good farmers, fair-trade products and certified organic ingredients.

"Coffee is such an intense production process," said Kellie Germond, a volunteer at Sweet Dreams. "We need to think about the solidarity of the workers in other parts of the world."

Sweet Dreams is one of the few places in Illinois that serves Just Coffee, produced by a fair-trade roaster that seeks to balance the disparity of wealth among countries.

Just Coffee Coooperative in Madison, WI, supports decent wages for small-scale farmers and buys from growers who follow organic practices.

Germond says that gathering coffee beans coated with pesticides puts the harvesters at risk of contracting ailments while the health threat is substantially lower with organic coffee.

3) The Best Alcoholic Coffee

Jölane's Café
1100 N. Milwaukee Ave.
847-375-6986
Mon. – Wed., 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Thurs. – Sat., 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Sun., 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Jölane's Café is one of the fanciest coffeehouses that you will ever visit. Besides a traditional walk-up café, you'll find a sit-down restaurant, dark wood furnishings, flat-screen televisions and an enclosed patio with a full bar.

Assistant manager Carlos Alcocer says Jolane's serves Julius Meinl, a specialty coffee roaster based in Austria. The cafe, whose namesake originated from Austria as well, offers three different daily brews, with Julius Meinl's Prasident blend being one of the most popular.

What's the Austria tie-in? The café owner's mother was Jölane Abt, who emigrated in 1913 to the United States from a town near Vienna, Austria.

Customer Candace Heap recommends the Irish coffee with Jameson Irish Whiskey, whipped cream and a little green mint syrup on top for happy hour. Or a liquid lunch.

4) The Best Coffee Straight From The Pot

Walker Bros. Original Pancake House
1615 Waukegan Rd.
847-724-0220
6:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m., daily

The best place to find coffee is often the best place to find a mouthwatering stack of blueberry pancakes or a stuffed veggie omelet. Sweet and bold, the coffee at Walker Bros. Original Pancake House inspires any time to be pancake time. Breakfast for lunch, anyone?

Walker Bros. brews the Kona blend of gourmet coffee from Farmer Brothers. The restaurant's manager, Beth Perez, highly recommends adding a bit of Walker's specialty cream to your cup.

"I used to drink my coffee black, but then I started adding a bit of our heavy whipping cream," she said. "It enhances the flavor of the coffee."

Since the first Walker Bros. opened in Wilmette in 1960 and the Glenview location in 1981, six restaurants are now scattered across Chicago's northern suburbs.

5) The Best Commuter Coffee

A New Grind
1116 Depot St.  (inside the downtown train station)
5 – 10:15 a.m.

Everyday is a new grind; the best way to start each one is with a local favorite.

A New Grind, at the downtown train station, gets its coffee from Sarica Foods. The majority of the patrons are commuters, but occasionally newcomers will find their way into the shop once they catch wind of this hidden treasure.

Owner Pat Dunleavy says the coffee shop has been in business for six years. Her place offers a little bit of everything, from flavored coffee from Arkansas to a wide selection of cheeses -- anything to make your morning a little more cheerful and your belly a little less empty.

Start your day off nice and fine.

6) The Best Iced Coffee and The Best Pick-Me-Up

Lucy's TLC Café
2301 Lehigh Ave.  (inside the North Glenview train station)
Mon. – Fri., 5:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Lucy Burke, owner of Lucy's TLC Café, has advised every customer to "have a beautiful day" for five years. She has undeniably developed close relationships with her clientele. Occasionally, she chats up her customers so long that, when they miss their train, she happily drives them to the downtown station a few miles away.

"How my attitude is in the mornings affects the commuters," Burke said. "I love the concept of giving tender loving care. It's such a negative world. Whatever little bit we can give back to the universe, we do."

The aroma of her fresh coffee is as infectious as her positive attitude. The scent of Lucy's custom roast from Sarica Foods saturates the train station.

"I take pride in my coffee," Burke said. "My customers are spoiled. They get fresh coffee. The coffee in the shop today [Friday] was roasted on Tuesday or Wednesday."

Burke's iced coffees feature one of her claims to fame: coffee cubes.

"Lucy started freezing coffee in ice cube trays," manager Pam Counihan said. "Her iced coffee is never watered down. Hazelnut iced coffee is one of our biggest sellers."

Burke, an immigrant from Columbia, integrates her mother's lessons into her life and business.

"My dearest beloved mother believed that every woman can fly," she said. "It's what we do with what we have. It's up to us to make our lives beautiful.

"I love my Glenview," Burke said. "This town is the best thing that has ever happened to me."

About this column: From the best coffee to the best bookstores and everything in between, Best of Glenview brings readers a taste of the "Best of" around town.

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