For residents living on Chicago’s west side, the grand opening of Robbie Wilkerson and Destiny Wilkerson‘s Urban Essentials Coffee Cafe gives hope that local business owners are on the rise in the area. Around 200 community members made their way to the coffee shop’s grand opening, reported Block Club Chicago.
“It seems like people are really excited about a real sit-down coffee shop around here,” Robbie said in an interview with Block Club Chicago. “Seeing a large level of turnout was so nice.”
Representative La Shawn Ford, who showed up to the grand opening, said the new coffee shop indicates the community’s growth.
“When you think of communities that thrive, they have small businesses that open up shops like this,” Ford said. “We need to make sure that as many people know about this place as possible. It’s definitely a gem in the Austin community.”
View this post on Instagram
The shop offers staples like cappuccinos, blended drinks (including seasonal flavors like pumpkin!) and tea, along with cakes, muffins, sandwiches and wraps. Plus, its coffee brew is supplied by Stivers Coffe, a Black-owned roaster located in the Lower West Side.
The Wilkersons’ goal is to enhance their neighborhood by offering healthy food options and motivating fellow entrepreneurs to open a brick-and-mortar location. Urban Essentials Coffee Cafe will also offer fun get-togethers, such as open mic nights, game nights and football watch parties, as well as donate coffee and doughnuts to various nonprofits and organizations.
Robbie and Destiny live a few blocks away from the cafe and are involved in their community. Robbie, for instance, serves as a youth director at the Westside Health Authority; Destiny is a college student but manages the cafe without a hitch.
Urban Essentials Coffee Cafe is located at 5300 W. Chicago Avenue and is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays for Chicagoans and visitors wanting to support and help keep the doors open.