Expansion is on the horizon for Kribi Coffee. The Forest Park air roastery and coffee shop, 7324 Madison St., is set to open a sibling space in Oak Park. The second location set to open in mid-October will be housed at Cross Function, a flexible workspace in the Boulevard Arcade building, at 1033 South Blvd.
“My wife Cindy was driving down South Boulevard and saw the available café space,” said Jacques Shalo, owner of Kribi Coffee. “I connected with Trent to learn more about the space, and it seemed like a great opportunity for Kribi to enter Oak Park.”
Trent Stoner, principal at Cross Function, has long envisioned a coffee shop being a part of his flexible work environment, but the pandemic delayed the project. The pause allowed him to connect with Shalo who was looking to “seed the Kribi concept” in Oak Park.
“The 77 members of Cross Function are very stoked Kribi is coming,” said Stoner. “We told them about the build out and explained we would keep disruptions to a minimum, but they were like, get it done.” Members will have free access to Kribi’s offerings.
Shalo and Stoner are working with Anthony Roeder, general contractor at Marion Street Services, to get the diminutive shop up and running. Marion Street Services is an exclusive builder in Oak Park and Roeder is confident he will be able to get the buildout completed speedily.
“This is like the crowning cream swirl on the latte,” said Roeder.
The build out will take advantage of the copious light on the first floor of the historic Boulevard Arcade building and create additional space to hang art from the Oak Park Art League. A long counter will greet customers and seating for 6 to 12 guests will be available in the shop and inside the well-appointed lobby area. Outdoor seating during warmer weather months will double the coffee shop’s seating capacity, but Shalo, Stoner and Roeder anticipate the shop will be used predominantly for grab-and-go purposes.
Kribi’s Cross Function location will capitalize on the recognizable design elements popularized at the Forest Park location. The colorful palette, conceptualized by Shalo’s son Jeremiah, is a nod to the family’s Cameroonian heritage and regional coffee sourcing practices. The shop will be equipped with Kribi’s signature air roaster and Shalo intends to offer coffee beans by the pound and brewed by cup. He will serve the same breakfast items he serves at the Forest Park location and is exploring lunch items to round the menu offerings.
“We were drawn to the Cross Function space because it allows us to open Kribi in Oak Park as soon as possible,” said Shalo.
The new space will serve as a precursor to a larger Kribi expansion in Oak Park expected sometime in late 2023 or early 2024. As more people are getting back on the train again, the Kribi location at Cross Function will bring a much-needed early morning coffee and breakfast option to South Blvd.
Shalo anticipates opening as early as Oct. 15 with first cups poured as early as 6 a.m.