Chicago mom opens kid-friendly cafe in Lincoln Park

About two years ago, Shannon Valko was at a Chuck E. Cheese with her 2-year-old son, Will, when she realized she’d had enough.

“I couldn’t take one more minute in there,” she says. “He was having fun, but I was bored out of my mind.”

So Valko and her brother Rob, 26, began plans for Little Beans Cafe, which opened last week on aa semi-industrial corner of Webster and Elston Avenues. The cafe is as much a sorely needed coffee-and-play spot in the Lincoln Park and Bucktown neighborhoods as it is a statement about what parents really want today.

[Read our review of Little Beans Cafe]

The coffee – Intelligentsia blends – is top-notch and the decor is open, airy and sun-lit, trimmed with original timber and brick for a hybrid warehouse-meets-ski-lodge feel. Valko says the ideal age range is 2-5, but the carpeted play area also includes a crawl space, surrounded by a charming white picket fence, for a younger crowd.

Will, now 4, “test drove” every play feature in the place, Valko says. And he and his 4-month-old sister, Cindy, both have shout-outs in the form of street signs with their names on them.

“It seemed fair that if they were going to lose their mom for a year while [I planned] this, that they’d get something,” Valko says.

- Advertisement -


Community Service Is a Way of Life at Sacred Heart Schools Chicago

Brought to you by Sacred Heart Schools Chicago

How Kids Benefit from Time Outdoors in Nature—Even in Winter

Brought to you by The Forest Preserves of Cook County

Grab Your Next Slice at These Family Pizza Spots Near Schaumburg

The Northwest Suburbs offers a variety of pizza styles, from thin crust to stuffed.

- Advertisement -