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New Smack Dab And Cafe Jumping Bean Locations Will Open Inside 2 CTA Stations

By Mae Rice in Food on May 12, 2016 4:43PM

The pastries at Smack Dab. Photo by Heather Lalley

Two beloved neighborhood cafes are slated to open concession spaces in El stations, the Chicago Transit Authority announced Wednesday: Smack Dab in the Wellington Brown Line station and Cafe Jumping Bean in the Damen Pink Line station. Both will open this summer.

Rogers Park's Smack Dab (6954 N. Glenwood Ave.)—which makes pastries, many of them gluten-free and vegan, that we freaked out over back in September—will have a base five-year lease on their Wellington concession space. They plan to open mid-July, Smack Dab owner Christine Forster told Chicagoist.

Pilsen's Cafe Jumping Bean (1439 W 18th St.), a more than 20-year-old operation known for their coffee and bagels, will have a base 10-year lease on their Damen concession space, which they plan to open mid-June, Jumping Bean owner Eleazar Delgado told Chicagoist.

As far as Smack Dab's menu is concerned, Forster said they plans to focus on "the time-sensitive but really amazing meal" at the concession space, served with coffee from Halfwit Roasters. (Halfwit is the local roaster that owns Wicker Park's The Wormhole). The menu will include biscuit sandwiches, like Smack Dab's cheesy biscuit egg sandwich; Smack Dab's house-made jams, including savory styles like tomato jam; and a rotating selection of seasonal meat and veggie hand-pies. Forster also plans a "very limited selection of sweet pastries," including a brown butter teacake and "coincidentally vegan" donuts—though the donuts might not launch right away.

In Cafe Jumping Bean's concession space, Delgado plans to have a full coffee and espresso bar, a full pastry menu (excluding cakes), and bagels—"definitely" including a lox bagel. Delgado gave egg sandwiches (the paragon of breakfast food) a "maybe." Jumping Bean doesn't currently serve them in their flagship space, but diners have requested them.

As for other sandwiches, it's unclear how many (if any) of the cafe's 15 styles will be served at the Damen concession space. Delgado's definitely not bringing Jumping Bean's wildly popular chicken salad sandwich to the train station—that one will remain exclusive to the cafe. There's even a chance they'll do "something completely different, foodwise" in the concession space, so as not to sap demand from the existing restaurant.