The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Un-Common Comforts in Rogers Park

By John DiGilio in Food on Oct 27, 2011 8:20PM

2011_10_25CounterCup.JPG More often than not, we talk about establishments that set the bar too high with a name to which they cannot live up. It is a rare and delightful occasion to find one that outdoes a more humble moniker. Rogers Park is home to a coffee shop whose name nearly belies its flavors and service. From its bold brews to its delicious baked goods and the definite "down-homeyness" of its proprietors and staff, there is nothing common about The Common Cup.

Located on the corner of Morse and Greenview, The Common Cup is a bright and friendly oasis. The spacious interior and walls of windows are apt indicators of the warmth they contain. They serve more than just coffee - the menu features hot soups, made to order sandwiches, ice cream, and a daily selection of baked goods. The pies and quiches are made in-house, as are the bars and brownies. The joe is sourced from up and comer, Counter Culture Coffee. We've already raved about their roasting prowess. The pricing is par for the coffee scene with most brews under five dollars for the largest size and meal combos in the five to eight dollar range.

The Common Cup is well-known in Rogers Park for its connection to local activism. The walls are adorned with a rotating selection of works-for-sale by local artists. Various civic awards hang near the register. In a unique twist, the baristas have a tip jar, but the proceeds never see the insides of their pockets. Each month, the "tip" money is donated to a different local charity. You won't find that kind of local commitment from the big chains (or even many of the small players either!). Judging by the brisk business we saw them doing, The Common Cup's neighborhood involvement is paying off.

We sampled quite a few things from both the pastry case and the menu during our visit. The apple pie was deliciously sweet with a flaky crust and plump slices of fruit. We recommend you let them warm it for you and top it with whipped cream. It's almost sinful. Equally good are the blueberry and pumpkin pies. Take your pick! We also had them build a sandwich for us. Our chosen combination of hummus, cheddar cheese, mixed greens, and tomato was served up fast. It was delicious and comforting as we washed it down with a smooth latte made from Counter Culture's Decaf Rustico. It was a skillful pairing.

What sets small bean brewers apart is the nature of the experience. What The Common Cup offers is the perfect combination of good coffee, good food, and a neighborhood vibe that begs you go in, sit down, relax and lose yourself for just a little while. It's an uncommon experience in a world that is commonly hectic and often tragically too convenient.

The Common Cup is located at 1501 W. Morse Ave.