Jotam Torres and his wife, Chelsey, have been in the bagel biz for eight years, starting when Jotam managed Zaleski & Horvath MarketCafe in Hyde Park. “Z & H needed better bagels, so I told them my wife made bagels from her grandmother’s bagel recipe. I made up the whole story,” he says. He knew Chelsey (a trained pastry chef working in the corporate world at the time) could deliver, and she did. The Torreses now own The Bagelers in Lincoln Park, and also supply their kettle-boiled bagels to Goddess and Grocer, Nordstom coffee bars, Café Bacci, and 40-plus other spots around the city.
Next week, they’ll launch Café Lacuna (2150 S. Canalport Ave., Pilsen), an all-day operation on the ground level of the Lacuna Lofts Arts Building. The 2,000-square-foot spot will offer counter service by day and go full service come evening. Of course bagels (plus sandwiches at lunchtime and, coming soon, shareable small plates for dinner) are on the menu; coffee and espresso (beans come from Ipsento); and, in partnership with Rare Tea Cellars, come June (pending a liquor license), there will be spiked tea-based drinks.
Expect both constructed tea cocktails and three boozy slushies: piña colada, sweet tea, and sangria. “I could drink it all day,” Jotam says of the latter, which is made from Spanish red wine infused with Mallorca melon tea.
Jotam says he and the lofts’ owners are in talks of giving café-goers access to the building’s 6,000-square-foot rooftop deck. City views and tea with booze: sounds like a winning combo.