4 cool North Shore cafes you might not know exist

Credit: Beans and Leaves

By Katie Niekerk

Member of the Chicago Parent Blog Network

Please, allow me to be the 836th person this week to ask if you can believe this weather. But seriously, can you believe this weather? Easter weekend was nothing short of perfect, and as I keep hearing, it’s unofficially safe to say that winter’s officially over.


As seasonal transitions go, every family has their rite of passage into spring. For some, it’s yard work and cleaning up the garden. Others fire up the grill and start eating dinner al fresco. A friend of mine goes through her kids’ winter gear and donates items in good condition.


My welcome-to-spring ritual is a little less noble, but it’s served me well since high school: my morning mocha order turns from hot to iced. Earth-shattering, right? I know. But here’s the thing—in my quest for chocolate-y, cold caffeination, I’ve come across some pretty cool cafes on the North Shore that I didn’t know about, and I’m here to share four of them with you. Not sure how to repay me? To quote Maui from Disney’s “Moana,” “What I believe you were trying to say … is thank you.”

Rock House

Founded by two musicians, Rock House is equal parts a coffeehouse and music venue. From local musicians and touring acts to regular karaoke nights, this is a place that recognizes the merit of live tunes. Five coffee blends—aptly named after various musical genres—are roasted in-house and sourced from around the world, Guatemala to Ethiopia.


1742 Glenview Rd., Glenview

Madame Zuzu’s

A tea shop and art studio, Madame Zuzu’s features live music, poetry nights and a killer menu of specialty tea, each with a story all its own. Madame Zuzu’s takes its tea seriously, too, sourcing from small, holistic, biodynamic farms as often as possible. Order the kiddos a smoothie, from the Maca Milkshake (banana, almond milk, almond butter, dates, cinnamon and maca) to the Berry Boom (berries, almond milk, banana, hemp protein and kale—they’ll never know).


582 Roger Williams Ave., Highland Park

Beans and Leaves

As the proprietors say themselves, Beans and Leaves has a small square footage but a big heart. Independent and family-owned, this place is just so darn adorable and serves up fair-trade coffee and espresso, tea, and live music on weekends. Take advantage of the warm weather to sit outside on the charming patio.


320 Old McHenry Rd., Long Grove

Caffe Bene

Caffe Bene is a national chain, but it’s different than the other national coffee chain we all know (and let’s face it, love). With shelves lined with books and games, Caffe Bene’s atmosphere invites you (and the kids) to hang out and stay awhile. The desserts are beautiful, the coffee is good, and hey, they serve bubble tea (an immediate victory).


1749 Milwaukee Ave., Glenview


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