AVONDALE – A family-run cafe specializing in Colombian coffee and sweets is coming to Avondale.
Colombians Angelica Acebedo and her siblings Ricardo Acebedo-Diaz and Marisol Acebedo Fisher open Magnifico Coffee, a coffee shop and roastery, on the ground floor of a condominium building at 3063 N. Milwaukee Ave.
The family was one of 26 recipients of the city’s Community Development Grant, a program designed to boost Chicago neighborhood businesses and institutions. The grant will cover the cost of construction and bring the business to life, said Angelica Acebedo.
Cafe Magnifico is slated to open later this summer with coffee from Colombian farms and Colombian snacks, such as almojábanas, or fresh cheese bread, and milhojas, a dessert made from piles of puff pastry and filled with pastry cream.
“We are so excited. We can’t wait to open our doors,” said Angelica Acebedo. “I want to get permission to have a big party so we can have a Colombian band.”
Magnifico Coffee is the first company of the Acebedo family.
Angelica Acebedo is a graphic designer who grew up in Bogotá before attending Northern Illinois University and later moving to Chicago. She and her close-knit family hit on the idea of opening a cafe together last year as the pandemic dragged on.
“We haven’t lost our jobs, but I think [the pandemic] gave us all the opportunity to reframe a bit: is that it? What else can we do as a family? We are still together as a family. We are a small pack of elephants. We go everywhere together,” Angelica Acebedo said with a laugh.
Angelica Acebedo said her brother had exploited his ties to coffee plantations in Colombia, while other family members handled other parts of the business such as marketing and design, making l company a “full-fledged family affair”.
The family signed a lease on the Milwaukee Avenue storefront, not far from where they live in West Town, with the aim of launching a cafe that celebrates their Colombian culture, which is often misrepresented, Angelica Acebedo said.
“If you see Colombia [on TV or in movies], of course, there is the coffee, but also the drug dealers,” she said. “This idea of sharing a cup of coffee in Colombia and breaking bread – it’s so important for us to share a bit of our culture.”
Angelica Acebedo said they were “using what little money they had and getting loans” to start the business when the city gave them the Community Development Grant, which propelled the project forward.
The $33.5 million grant program — funded by the Chicago Recovery Fund and Tax Increment Finance (TIF) dollars — is for entrepreneurs looking to open or upgrade businesses.
It’s unclear how much funding the Magnifico Coffee project will receive through the program because the family is still doing paperwork, but the program offers small grants up to $250,000 and large grants up to $5 million. dollars.
With the grant, Angelica Acebedo said they would be able to complete construction of the 1,200 square foot Milwaukee Avenue storefront.
“We were speechless. We couldn’t believe it,” she said. “It just validates our business. … It just gives you that sense of confidence, even more excitement … to make sure we’re doing it right for our family, for the neighborhood, and for the farmers back home.
For starters, Magnifico Coffee will serve coffee from the San Lorenzo Group, part of a growing Colombian collective called Cooperativa de Caficultores de Alto Occidente de Caldas, established in 1964.
But they plan to partner with other Colombian and Latin American farms in the future. All coffee — no matter where it’s grown — will be roasted fresh at Magnifico with their roaster, she said.
When the cafe opened, Angelica Acebedo said they planned to hang local art on the walls, showcasing Latinx artists. There are many artists in the family: Angelica Acebedo is a graphic designer; his grandmother was a painter; and her husband is in branding.
The hope is that guests leave Magnifico with a deeper appreciation for the Colombian way of life, Angelica Acebedo said.
“We are so excited to share our culture through this cup of coffee,” she said.
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