Caffeination Destination: Metropolis
Anyone who lives South of the Loop knows that braving the long trek (aka Red Line ride to Granville) is no small feat. But it’s well worth it: amongst the dozens or so of Ethiopian restaurants, just a block away from the train stop, lies this miniature city, rightfully named Metropolis.
Before places like Ipsento, I used to think Chicago cafes belonged in either the Intelligentsia or Metropolis “camps.” Although they are rivals, they couldn’t be more different. Metropolis boosts a more local, approachable vibe, with chalkboard drawings and free books for the taking. The overall message of the cafe is to stay and relax, not sip an espresso at the bar and get out of here. This is good, since it does seem a shame to travel almost to the Evanston border for a two minute experience.
When I worked at Z&H Market Cafe, which uses Metropolis beans, we used to talk about taking a trip up to the Metropolis Roastery. Unfortunately, that dream was never realized during the time that I worked there. It became a fantasy, a sort of promised land. What’s even in Chicago that far north? I wondered.
And one day, I just decided to do it. I was doing a Red Line Coffee tour of sorts, with a stop at The Coffee Studio along the way. Pushing past the turnstile, I looked at my surroundings with a sort of insatiable thirst that was due to more than just caffeine withdrawal. Here was an area of the city I had never even known about, let alone seen.
“Are you from nearby?” the barista asked me as I ordered a cortado that would turn out to be nutty, with just the right amount of milk.
“No,” I answered. “I’m from Hyde Park– all the way on the South side. I used to work at Z&H. They use your beans.”
She was evidently surprised. “Wow. Yeah, I heard there are some cafes down there but I haven’t been to any of them.”
“Cortado!” came the call at the other end of the bar.
As I moved to get my drink, she gave me back my change. “Welcome to Edgewater,” she said.