Community Grounds Plans to Open Parsons Avenue Cafe This Spring

Walker Evans Walker Evans Community Grounds Plans to Open Parsons Avenue Cafe This SpringRenderings by Tim Lai ArchitecT.
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The project has taken a bit longer than expected, but Parsons Avenue on the South Side will finally gain a new coffee shop this year with the opening of Community Grounds. Founder Joel Cosme Jr. first told us about the concept back in August 2014, but a change in plans is shifting the cafe two doors down to 1134 Parsons Avenue, at the corner of Deshler Avenue.

After some advice, we decided on the old Jones Appliance Store building,” explained Cosme. “It used to house Cy’s Pizza Palace which is where Jim Grote, the founder of Donatos, learned his craft when he was a teenager. We met someone interested in helping us who then purchased and renovated the building so that it could have another chance to serve the community.”

Cosme said that additional delays have arisen from zoning changes, parking variances and other necessary procedures to move toward opening. He hasn’t let that time go to waste though, devoting the downtime to building an audience of thousands of fans and followers on social media.

“It’s definitely been helpful to stay visible during the process,” he stated. “It has helped us make business connections and given us opportunities to meet local entrepreneurs. Community events have also given us the opportunity to hear feedback about the different coffee options we have presented.”


Once open, Community Grounds will primarily serve coffee roasted by Cafe Brioso, in addition to featuring a rotating “guest roaster”. The shop will feature hot and cold coffee drinks, teas, and a breakfast and lunch menu with vegan and vegetarian options.

The design of Community Grounds was created by Tim Lai and Eliza Ho of locally-based Tim Lai ArchitecT. The exterior is getting a big update to the curb appeal of the building, while the interior will be opened up and reimagined with raw materials, wooden textures and punches of color.

“It is the idea of a box within a box that defines the shape and form of the ‘coffee shed’ and they want to convey the sense of authenticity and rawness by using natural plywood,” said Cosme. “The pass through windows of the coffee shed are highly functional. When open, they visually connect the north and south sides of the room and baristas can view and serve on both sides. When they close, events and meetings can take place without interrupting patrons on the other side of the room.”

While Cosme hopes to be open sometime this spring, he is waiting to announce a more targeted grand opening date after construction has gotten underway. Once the shop has arrived, his plan is to have it serve area residents new and old alike.

“Our goal is to reflect the needs of the community,” said Cosme. “Not only as residents — having homes a short stroll from the coffee shop — but as neighbors, friends, activists, artists and socially conscious people seeking to help bring a positive light to the area. We hope that Community Grounds will be a place for strangers to be become friends.”

For more information, visit www.mycommunitygrounds.com.

Renderings by Tim Lai ArchitecT.




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