by Mike Sula
When a restaurant or cafe suddenly closes for "remodeling," that's usually an easily breakable code for "it's all over for everyone but the debt collectors." That was the fear among slaves to Kevin Ashtari's marvelous coffee beans, roasted on the spot in his tiny Lakeview coffee shop Asado, when he abruptly and mysteriously shut down just before the holidays.
Ashtari had stepped back in recent months to focus on roasting, but felt the shop—which began to screen movies, brew tea, and import Old Fashioned Donuts—had strayed from its original mission.
"After three years trying to make ends meet and paying everybody it drove me crazy," he says. "I just needed a break from it, but I realized this is my true calling and I had to get back to it." Ashtari promised his Facebook fans he'd reopen, and he meant it, installing a shop-length standing island for a more communal drinking environment, and working on three new fair-trade organic roasts he'll begin to introduce this Saturday when the cafe reopens at 8 AM sharp: a Sumatra Mandheling he describes as a dark-medium roast, "full bodied and syrupy;" a lighter Nicaraguan "Coco;" and a Malawian bean darker than the rest. Muffins and cupcakes will follow, and Ashtari will resume command of the pour overs.
Asado Coffee Co., 1432 W. Irving Park Rd. 773-661-6530