New CTA Cafes: Chicago's Blue, Brown Line 'L' Stops Getting Fancy Coffee And Fresh Concessions

The Chicago Transit Authority will soon have some new ways for passengers to get a speedy pick-me-up (sadly, not from actual trains and buses) as the agency announced a crop of new "L" station cafes opening later this year.

A pair of upscale coffee shops will open at the Damen and California Blue Line stops by the summertime, a bakery/cafe is setting up shop at the Belmont Blue Line station and a Dunkin Donuts will be added to the Kimball Brown Line station, according to a CTA news release.

Avondale Blue Line passengers have more space than their counterparts further south on the line (the Damen Cafe Transit space is a mere 80 square feet) in the soon-to-be-opened The Bageler and His Wife. DNAinfo reports the cafe will have coffee and other drinks, but food-wise, will focus squarely on bagels and croissants.

All three Blue Line cafes have signed ten-year leases, according to the CTA, while the Dunkin Donuts in the Kimball Brown Line station signed on for 15 years.

Earlier in March, upscale North Shore catering group Butterfield Kitchens opened in a vacant retail space at the Red, Orange and Green Line Roosevelt stop, according to South Loop blog, Sloop.

While customers may be less than enthused over the agency's new payment system or last summer's new rail cars, the agency is hoping a boost in the "L" station concession game will please passengers.

CTA President Forrest Claypool said the move helps to support local small businesses while providing riders with "convenient, attractive places to grab a quick coffee or bite to eat is part of our strategy to continue to improve the customer experience.”

While the new cafes will make it easier to grab a snack on the go, customers should plan on eating quickly: though not explicitly listed as a prohibited activity, the CTA encourages passengers to avoid eating and drinking in rail cars and on buses.

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