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Upton's Naturals to open vegan cafe this summer

  • Packaging for bacon seitan by Chicago-based vegan foods manufacturer Upton's Naturals
Packaging for bacon seitan by Chicago-based vegan foods manufacturer… (Courtesy of Upton's Naturals )
April 01, 2013|By Samantha Nelson, @samanthanelson1 | For RedEye

Chicago-based seitan manufacturer Upton's Naturals is planning to open a vegan cafe and event space when it moves to larger digs in West Town this summer.

“We’d been looking to expand our production space for a little while, and ultimately what we decided to do is build this new production facility," vice president Nicole Sopko said. "Since we’re building from the ground up there, we thought it would be nice to have some sort of a retail presence.”

Set to open in June or July at 2054 W. Grand Ave., the as yet unnamed counter-service cafe will be open daily serving coffee, baked goods, breakfast sandwiches and fresh juices in the morning and a lunch and dinner menu centering on made-in-house seitan sandwiches. Carryout is the focus, but there will also be a few tables.

You'll be able to pick up all five of the company’s packaged seitan products offered at retail stores; the cafe may also carry seitan varieties such as pepperoni, gyros and pastrami that Upton's custom makes for restaurants such as Handlebar and Dimo's Pizza.

“We see our customers when we go out to events, but not on a day-to-day basis,” Sopko said.
The new facility will also host events such as yoga classes and visits from vegan chefs. “We have a couple of other surprises,” Sopko said. "It’s going to be evolving because we’ve never done this before."

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