Dollop General Store and Cafe creates an immersive shopping and café experience in Evanston


Astry Rodriguez/The Daily Northwestern

Evanston’s new industrial-style and modern coffee joint, Dollop General Store and Café, offers traditional and special drinks along with a shopping area for pantry items and snacks.

Astry Rodriguez, Reporter

The new Dollop General Store and Café is decorated with a neutral-colored floor-to-ceiling map of Evanston, a tall sliding window for fresh-air dining, wooden accent tables, a phone booth and many plants, giving the shop a minimalistic yet homey feel.

The location opened July 16 in the downtown Albion Evanston. It is the first location with a cafe-store concept opened by the Dollop Coffee Company chain, which got its start as a small cafe in Chicago more than 15 years ago.

After diners finish conversing and enjoying a warm cappuccino at the cafe, they can wander through the small shop and buy pantry items like condiments, pasta, cereal and even necessities like paper towels or natural soap.

“It has a bodega feel,” co-manager Kory Kenehan said. “You can shop and then hang out.”

Open seven days a week, the shop allows customers to try something new or stick to the favorites, selling Dollop brand items and others from big name companies like Kellogg’s, General Mills and Pepperidge Farm.

The coffee bar, sitting at the center of the joint and aligned with modern wooden mini tables, appeals to a variety of sweet and savory cravings with food like vegan glazed donuts and turkey club sandwiches.

The shop’s specialty drink is the Nutella Mocha, according to Kenahan, which he said he always recommends to patrons when they ask to be surprised.

Customer Elaine Kemna-Irish said she has been to the cafe a couple times and has enjoyed the coffee.

“It’s really nice that they have a marketplace in the shop, the coffee’s good, and I like to come in here and draw,” Kemna-Irish said.

Kemna-Irish said she frequented another Dollop location and is happy there is finally one in Evanston.

Stephanie Irish, who accompanied Kemna-Irish to the store, said she was drawn by the interior design of the shop, especially the lobby area, because it has a retro, welcoming vibe.

“I like the shape of the mirrors,” Irish said. “You can really tell that it was very thought out.”

There are some special deals in the shop, such as a free small coffee with the purchase of a board game from the ‘Netflix & Chill’ rack, which includes Connect Four, Guess Who? and others.

Kenehan said he has known the owner, Dan Weiss, for more than 20 years and talks to him frequently about next steps for the location, often making suggestions.

Among the many ideas for innovations are building a stage for open-mic and comedy shows, selling vinyls and filling up one of the shop pillars with work from local artists.

Kenehan said as the staff expands, the store is expected to remain open until 10 p.m. He added that one of his favorite things about the shop is that it will continue to evolve.

“We’re really trying to make it a fun place,” Kenehan said. “I like that customers can come in, tell us they want something, and we stock it.”

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Twitter: @Astry_tpwk

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