Philz Coffee brews coffee and fosters community at its new Davis Street location


Zoe Malin/Daily Senior Staffer

Philz Coffee is open daily, serving a variety of brews and food items. The Evanston location is the company’s fourth shop in the Chicagoland area.

Zoe Malin, Reporter

The baristas at Philz Coffee poured their first beverages this weekend as the shop opened its new location at 1030 Davis St. A crowd of residents and Northwestern students welcomed the San Francisco-based coffee shop on Oct. 12.

Rob Ertmann, Philz’s chief operating officer, said the company brings something to Evanston’s coffee shop scene that other businesses don’t: human connection. For him, a good conversation and “a touch of humanity” matter more than any cup of joe.

“Our mission statement is about bettering people’s days,” said Ertmann. “At the end of the day, we are not a coffee company. We are a people company.”

Open daily from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., Philz Coffee serves a variety of light, medium and dark roasts. Ertmann recommends a cup of Tesora coffee with medium cream for first-time customers since it was founder Phil Jaber’s first blend and took him seven years to perfect.

Philz is also well-known for its iced and hot specialty beverages. Ertmann said the shop is “infamous” for its Mint Mojito, an iced coffee beverage with fresh mint and sweet cream. The newest drink on the menu is the Iced Coffee Rosé, which was introduced in April and is the first beverage added in 10 years.

Philz Coffee also serves breakfast and lunch items, including avocado and nut butter toast, fresh-made breakfast sandwiches and bowls, as well as muffins, scones and other sweet treats. According to a press release, Philz hopes to highlight local Evanston businesses through its offerings, and has partnerships with Hewn Bread and Defloured: a Gluten Free Bakery in the works. Ertmann said the shop has gluten-free bread for those with an allergy, and almond, oat and vanilla soy milk for customers who do not consume dairy.

Annie Coakley, executive director of Downtown Evanston, said she is “thrilled” Philz chose to expand into Evanston, its fourth store in the Chicagoland area. She joked that since “we’re a college town, people need to stay awake.” Coakley also applauded Philz on the remodel of its storefront, which used to be a music studio.

“It’s a high design build-out,” Coakley said. “You can tell they put a lot of work into this space.”

Ertmann said Philz chose to open a location in Evanston because it’s a place where employees can “get to know the people who live here.” He said Philz believes a community is built and represented within the four-walls of its coffee shops, so each location is specifically created with that in mind.

Evidence of this idea is seen in the interior decoration of their Evanston space. Pops of purple represent the Northwestern community, and a mural by Chicago artist Kelsey Dalton McClellan depicts the Philz branding. Different seating arrangements — like a communal table and laid-back couch area — promote togetherness.

While it has only been open for a few days, Philz Coffee has quickly gotten approval from self-proclaimed coffee-lovers like Weinberg sophomore Sarah Genelly. She had been to Philz Wicker Park location, and was “motivated” to visit Evanston’s shop since she enjoyed her first experience. During her visit to Philz’s new storefront, Genelly said she was greeted by friendly baristas, which only added to the overall atmosphere.

“Philz is a pretty homie coffee shop while still being very modern,” Genelly said. “It definitely adds to Evanston, and I’ll be going back for sure.”

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This story has been updated to clarify the types of drinks Philz serves.