A KOSHER COFFEE GATHERING PLACE…

By Ellen Braunstein, Special to Chicago Jewish News

Bond Coffee Collective recently joined two Dunkin’ Donuts as certified kosher coffee shops in the Jewish community.

But Dunkin’ Donuts can’t enhance the coffee experience and coffee culture the way Bond Coffee Collective has with a welcoming space in West Rogers Park that takes coffee and tea to an art form. The craft coffee and tea shop also offers plenty of quick bites — sandwiches, healthy salads and smoothies. Also, dairy-free options are among the all-vegetarian dishes.

Melody Coven recommended the shop at 7555 North California Avenue on its Facebook page: “Went today. It was such a trendy, fun vibe in the space. Tried the rose agave latte and thought it was DELICIOUS. So happy to have this type of thing as a kosher option.  It’s just the kind of place you just want to hang out in.”

Founder Max Dayan and his partner Michael Schultz, whose company owns Fairgrounds Coffee and Tea, said “when we came up with the idea and what we wanted to do and who we wanted to serve, we were trying to come up with a name that was easy to remember but also communicated that this is a community place you can gather and connect and be with each other.”

Dayan named Bond after his mother Bonnie, who shares a name with three members of his family including his six-year-old daughter.

“My mother really was the type of person that built a house that was like the gathering place for the community,” Dayan said. “It was the go-to place and she made just this really warm, open environment for anyone and everyone. And that’s what we’re trying to replicate with the space. We want people to feel comfortable and welcome.”

The cafe seats 40-plus and has an outdoor patio with two picnic tables and a fenced in play area for children. It was a bank that went out of business and had been vacant for several years.

Dayan, 32, is Syrian Sephardic and is married to Mariya and they have three children. Dayan attended Jewish day school in Chicago, studied in Israel at a yeshiva and was a communications major at University of Illinois in Champaign.

He worked professionally as a fundraiser for a Jewish organization in Chicago. “As I’m making meetings with people and saying ‘let’s go for coffee,’ I couldn’t believe there wasn’t a place like this, even Starbucks is not such a nice place to have these meetings. So I’ve been asking myself for years already, how come this place doesn’t exist until finally I said, ‘All right, let’s make this place exist.'” He considers himself a community organizer and his partner Schultz an expert in the coffee business.

Chicago Eater remarked that “the cozy, playful space features a refurbished payphone booth (a foreign concept to some younger diners), a fireplace and decorative plants.” There are plans for an outdoor fire pit where customers can roast marshmallows.

Dayan doesn’t advertise that the restaurant is kosher but word has spread in the Orthodox community. “We feel it connotes a certain stereotype. We want to be branded as a healthy craft coffee and tea shop that happens to be kosher.”

The hours are 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Thursday. The cafe closes for Shabbat at 4 p.m. Friday and reopens at 8 a.m. on Sunday. There is free wi-fi.

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