Coffee On The Go: Central Station will add a location at Wilmette Metra Station

Wilmette commuters will soon have a more convenient way to get their morning caffeine fix.

Central Station Coffee & Tea is expected to open a secondary location inside the Wilmette Metra station, possibly by mid-summer, according to store owner Katie Degen.

Wilmette Village Council on Tuesday May 10 approved a two-year license agreement between the Village and Central Station for concession service inside the station.

Degen told The Record that the station business will be an “extension” of Central Station, serving takeaway coffees, teas, basic espresso drinks, pastries and packaged snacks.

Central Station opened at 1050 Central St. in downtown Wilmette in June 2021, and around the same time Degen came up with the idea of ​​having a presence at Metra Station.

“I started asking The Village as soon as we opened,” she said. “That was always in my plan.”

Degen added: “I feel like it’s an obvious extension of coffee. We already have a strong commuter crowd and that will make them more convenient, and we can also branch out to more commuters. »

Central Station owner Katie Degen (centre) talks to a customer on the first day of the store in 2021.

Wilmette’s Metra station is owned by Union Pacific Railroad, which has an agreement with the Village of Wilmette that allows the village to partially lease the space, according to village documents.

The former Wilmette cafe The Rock House previously held a lease for the space from 2015 to 2019. Rock House, which doubles as a music school, also occupied the storefront that now houses Central Station. Rock House has since focused solely on his musical education.

In a memo to village council, Wilmette business development co-ordinator Lucas Sivertsen said the decline in commuter traffic – linked to the pandemic – from 2020 to 2022 suspended occupancy of the vacant Metra concession area .

With travel on the rise again, the Village issued a request for proposals — limited to Wilmette businesses with active food handling licenses — for the space in March. Central Station would have been the sole claimant.

In its proposal, Central Station expressed a desire to rehabilitate the space with updated counters, equipment and lighting, at its own expense, according to the village. The annual lease is $3,000.

Degen expects its Metra dealerships to be open from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday.


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