Stephanie Izard researched best coffees for new shop, Little Goat Bread
BY MATTHEW SCHWERHA For Sun-Times Media
Stephanie Izard takes a sip of coffee from a spoon — which helps facilitate the tasting process. | Galdones Photography/Little Goat
Stephanie Izard, whose Girl & the Goat restaurant is packing them in, is opening Little Goat, a diner with a coffee shop inside called Little Goat Bread, at 820 W. Randolph.
While the diner won’t be serving lunch and dinner until later this month, the coffee shop side of the venue is opening Dec. 13. In addition to mouthwatering pastries and sandwiches, it will be serving Stumptown coffee, hand-picked during Izard’s research trip to Colombia this past summer.
Stumptown, says Izard, meets her high standards for the ingredients she purchases for her
restaurants, but also fits with her viewpoint on sustainability and fairness.
“I always like to see where my food comes from,” Izard said of her June trip to Colombia with Darrin Daniel and Jon Lund from Stumptown, her friend, Huge and her fiancée, Gary. “I thought, why not find out where my morning cup of coffee comes from, too? I had no idea how much work goes into just one single cup of coffee.”
Izard hopes that diners will also connect with the stories behind the food and drink.
“I think that when you have a story to tell your guests, they also feel more connected with the food, or in this case the drinks,” Izard said. “[Colombia] really showed me what it takes to make such a delicious cup of coffee.”
Neiva, La Plata, Pedregal, Planadas and Bogota were all stopping points on Izard and her crew’s journey — ensuring they were thorough in their learning experience.
“I think we are all responsible to hold high standards for the ingredients we purchase,” Izard said. “It is really important to me to make sure that everything is grown sustainably, that a company’s employees are treated fairly and respected, and that ingredients are the purest they can be.
“Visiting the farms also creates a better relationship with our suppliers. It is important for us to work with people who have the same standards and beliefs we hold.”
The coffee that will be served at Little Goat is not the only item on the menu with a story to be told.
“We partnered with Tim Burton from Burton’s Maplewood Farm in Medona, Ind.,” Izard said. “And yes, if you have not heard of him, his name is Tim Burton.
“Tim loves maple syrup and when he approached me about doing a special, barrel-aged maple syrup my mouth just dropped and I think I shook my head yes. The syrup eventually turned into ‘Christmas in a Bottle’, or so Tim calls it. We will serve it with select pancakes, but also sell it by the bottle at Little Goat.”
In Colombia, Izard learned more than just the details of her ingredients.
“Everything was a bit surprising,” Izard said. “I knew how coffee was grown, but I don’t think I fully appreciated the steep hillsides people stand on to pick the pods or the cuppings that take place by the distributors. My everyday cup of coffee is the livelihood of so many people, and even though I always knew that, now I have seen it in person.”