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Word on the Street: Hidden Gem

October 1, 2009 by Jill Spear

Fair Trade DoorI have a soft spot for neighborhood businesses. My father owned one. So did my grandfather. Maybe that’s why I found Fair Trade Café so darned irresistible.

When I walked in, it was 7 p.m. on a weeknight, and the locals were still hanging out, playing gin rummy, using the free wi-fi, and leafing through the used paperback books, only $2 apiece.

This little gem of a coffee shop has such a mellow, hipster vibe, it’s hard to believe they’re serving caffeinated drinks. Which brings me to the White Chocolate Espresso I ordered. Would it really taste like white chocolate and coffee? It did. Yum.

After that, I drew the line. No more carbs for me. Then I saw the banana nut bread, made fresh on the premises. Uh oh.

FT PastriesOne slice of chunky, walnut-studded banana nut bread later, I headed for the door. The Beatles song, “Get Back,” was playing on the sound system. Was Fair Trade Café playing with my subconscious? No need. I’ll be back.

FYI: Fair Trade Café is a bit tough to find. Just remember that it’s in Civic Space Park (at Central and Van Buren), on the basement level of the A.E. England building. It’s literally a hidden gem. Check out their homemade soups and sandwiches at lunchtime, and the made-to-order Sunday brunch.


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