“There’s just something about the café that can bring everybody in.”
Spencer Young, Coffee Program Head at Foxtrot Market
People know that Chicago is a city of neighborhoods, and nestled within those neighborhoods is most likely a little grocery store that the locals flock to. This week, we wanted to salute a new partner, Foxtrot Market, by catching up with Spencer Young, Coffee Program Head.
For the uninitiated, Foxtrot describes its components as “1 Part Store/1 Part Curator/1 Part Delivery.” Evolved out of a food and alcohol delivery app, this venture has expanded into having two retail stores, one at 1019 W. Lake in the West Loop, the other at 900 W. Armitage in Lakeview, each outfitted with a complete coffee bar serving Metric coffee.
Think of the quaint country storefront—but with stuff you actually want or enjoy. The Armitage location is set up with a pleasantly minimal aesthetic. Instead of facing down the hundreds of micro-decisions patrons sift through at other grocery or convenience stores, Foxtrot offers only the best or favorites of each category: Jeni’s Ice Cream, La Croix, goods from local artisans like Gayle’s Best Ever Grilled Cheese and Bang Bang Pie Shop and Metric Coffee, frozen foods that actually sound good, and also sundry items you seek out in a pinch like toothbrushes, soap, paper plates, etc. Plus, currently, free drip coffee is being offered to enjoy as you shop.
“We do a little of everything, so we can reach out to a huge number of people. With all of our deliveries, with the café, with the very curated selection we have in the store, I think it really hits a lot of people,” says Spencer.
Foxtrot caters each location to each neighborhood. The West Loop location has sleek wood floors, with more seating and hangout space; the Lakeview spot is brighter, occupying a corner location with large windows that reveal the bustling neighborhood atmosphere.
“It’s important to get the right feel of the neighborhood, because otherwise you’re just any other convenience store. When we tailor it to the neighborhood, it becomes a lot more homey, more welcoming.”
It is exciting to be partnered with a venture that truly understands itself and executes its purpose so seamlessly. Foxtrot’s courier team delivers goods and alcohol direct, and at each location there is a regular rotation of free events and samplings from local breweries, distilleries, and wineries. They are also kicking off their “Joe To Go” program, which consists of a 96oz box of Metric coffee brewed up hot and ready for brunch.
There is an ambient comfort, almost meditative experience of being able to take time to peruse good options, a strange security in choosing to be solitary or to ask for opinions. Maybe this existential reflection on grocery shopping seems a little much, but my point is this: it can be a beautiful experience if you know where to go. So go to Foxtrot.