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Kickin' Back at Kickstand Espresso Bar

By John DiGilio in Food on Feb 1, 2011 7:20PM

2011_1_DiGilio_Kickstand.jpgIf you are a coffee aficionado, then you have probably noticed that the bean scene here in Chicago seems to getting better and better. The city is becoming a hotbed for hot drinks of the caffeinated kind and virtually no neighborhood has gone untouched by the coffee craze. Local roasting companies up the ante by making bold flavors available to anyone with a good grinder and a decent coffee maker. One of Lakeview's latest coffee stops is Kickstand Espresso Bar, where the brew is about as smooth as the vibe.

A little bohemian, yet not too emo to be cozy, Kickstand is a cool and funky addition to the Chicago coffee scene. The interior is bright and hip, the baristas are friendly and helpful and the coffee is brewed with care. The beans are crafted by the roast masters at Metropolis Coffee Company, so you know they are starting with the good stuff before they pour it in your mug. Kickstand is actually owned by one of Chicago's seasoned coffee vets; Philip Tadros of Noble Tree and Dollop fame is the man behind this macchiato.

We pulled up a stool in Kickstand on a cold winter morning, hoping to chase away the chill with a few hot sips. Business was brisk thanks to a well-mixed crowd of hipsters and average joes. The latte was smooth and creamy with just enough acidity to leave a lingering twinge on the tongue. It hardly warranted any sugar to soften its rich, roasted flavor. The espresso we ordered was not quite as rich and tasty. Was it the blend or the way it was made? Either way, it failed to produce the same degree of satisfaction. We were pleasantly surprised, however, by the pastries we sampled. We chose two of the croissants - an almond-honey confection and your standard chocolate-filled. Both were light, delicious, and the perfect accompaniment to our coffee drinks. We were delighted to learn that they came from none other than Southport Grocery and Cafe.

The new kid on the block, Kickstand Espresso Bar is a welcome entry to the Lakeview business scene and the city's coffee culture. Judging by the flatness of our espresso, they still have a few kinks to work out. We enjoyed our overall visit enough to say that they are well on their way. We will, of course, be back to test out both our prediction and the espresso again soon.

Kickstand Espresso Bar is located at 824 West Belmont Avenue.