Coffee, juice bar to open at shuttered Caribou Coffee site

New business expected to open this spring

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By Timothy Inklebarger

Staff Reporter

Oak Park residents will be sipping gourmet and Greek coffee, raw juices and smoothies this spring when Fresko, a Greek yogurt and raw juice bar, opens at the prominent corner of Oak Park Avenue and Lake Street.

Chicago resident Gus Karamanis, owner of Fresko, said in a telephone interview that the bar is expected to open this spring.

"We've been working on this for a couple of years, and we thought Oak Park would be the ideal location," he said.

He said Fresko also will offer pastries, Greek olive oil, honey and a variety of dried nuts. Yogurt served at the juice bar will be unlike typical dessert-type yogurt, but will include vegetables and can be eaten as a meal.

"Our authentic Greek yogurt is a great source of probiotics and calcium, imperative to a health digestive system," Karamanis said in a news release. "You can enjoy it combined with a unique selection of specialty toppings such as olive oil, honey, mixed nuts, seasonal fruits and vegetables."

The 1,100-square-foot juice bar has been vacant since Caribou Coffee closed shop at 136 N. Oak Park Ave. in April 2013.

Commercial real estate broker David King said in a telephone interview that there was high interest in the location, but added, "We wanted to find the right tenant that is going to fit the building and the neighborhood and the village."


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Posted: January 11th, 2014 11:42 AM

The Brad, I couldn't agree more. Granted "taste" is subjective to a certain degree, I've always found Puree's pizza too greasy for my taste. I can think or quite a number of places around the area I prefer. Frankly, I find it perplexing that it's managed to stay alive in the busiest part of downtown. I can only imagine it's due to lack of selection...I wonder what will happen after Lou's opens?

ETphonedhome from Oak Park  

Posted: January 10th, 2014 11:50 AM

Sure would be nice to see some new businesses open up on Madison St...

The Brad from OP  

Posted: January 10th, 2014 9:24 AM

Puree Pizza better than Lou's? You've lost all credibility. Nope. Not even close. Not in the same universe.

Fidelio from Oak Park  

Posted: January 9th, 2014 10:00 PM

To OP Dude and Violet: I think that Chris, when talking about that coffee in FP, he wanted to write "It opened" but by mistake he wrote "I opened"

Dan Lauber from River Forest  

Posted: January 9th, 2014 7:06 PM

Delays in businesses opening are rarely due to government bureaucracy. It's due to the time involved in remodeling. Lou Malnati's delay is all remodeling-based. Too bad we don't need yet another pizza parlor, especially since Malnati's doesn't come close to the tasty quality of Puree Pizza's pizza pies.

Stan Gruszeczki from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 9th, 2014 3:27 PM

No matter what the business, if they have to go through multiple layers of bureaucratic processes take months after month , what incentive is there to open a business in Oak Park . Plainly put to much red tape.

Violet Aura from Chicago, Illinois  

Posted: January 9th, 2014 11:39 AM

By the way, Chris, I LOVE indie coffee houses. I was lamenting the lack of them in OPRF last week! So pumped.

Violet Aura from Chicago, Illinois  

Posted: January 9th, 2014 11:38 AM

OMG, Chris! I didn't know this! I will be stopping by. I cannot believe this flew under the radar. Are you guys on Yelp? Thanks!


Posted: January 9th, 2014 10:25 AM

Over under on how quickly they shut their doors: 3 months

Jeff from Oak Park  

Posted: January 9th, 2014 10:07 AM

Sounds like a positive development, especially given the limited space of the site. I imagine options were probably fairly limited. Now, when is Lou Malnatti's going to open?

OP Dude  

Posted: January 9th, 2014 9:51 AM

Chris, way to tear a competitor down to give you own business a shameless plug. If you wanted a "traditional" coffee house in that location, why did you put yours in FP? Frankly I'm glad that the space if filled by a business that's interesting and offers something different. That's the kind of stuff Oak Park needs to stop is from turning into every other generic suburb around Chicago.

Ken C. from Oak Park  

Posted: January 8th, 2014 7:58 PM

I noticed today that the old Papaspiros site is now a restaurant called Chara. Anyone know anything about it. Must have just opened. How come nothing in the WJ???

Chris Carrier  

Posted: January 8th, 2014 7:38 PM

I'm a little disappointed that it's not a traditional coffee shop but I will give it a try. For those of you who like independent coffee houses, I hope you'll try Counter Coffee on Madison in FP. I opened in October I think and it's pretty nice.


Posted: January 8th, 2014 7:23 PM

Great news. Now I hope to actually see businesses actually operating in the old Velvet Curtain, Papaspiros & Caribou Coffee spaces rather than coming soon signs!

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