When a well-run, locally owned business opens on the North Shore, news travels fast.
It’s been just two months since Glencoe’s Hometown Coffee and Juice launched in its corner location at the intersection of Vernon and Park Avenues (formerly occupied by Glencoe Roast Coffee) but already it’s the neighborhood hotspot.
On a weekday morning in late December, the café was buzzing with a mix of college kids home for the holidays, professionals on laptops, stay-at- home moms, and retirees — all happily communing over Hometown’s full menu of coffees, juices, smoothies and specialty toasts.
And who better to own and operate a cafe called “Hometown” than Julie and Lou Rubin.
The Rubins have made Glencoe their home for nearly 20 years, living, working and raising their two children in the community.
“When we moved here, we fell in love with the village’s small town, Mayberry aspect,” says Lou.
“It’s where we live and what we’re proud of.”
For years, Lou — a mortgage broker — would grab his morning coffee at Glencoe Roast before heading upstairs to his office, housed in the same building. When Glencoe Roast came up for sale last July, he bought it, emboldened by his belief that the village needed more retail and food options. He was also intrigued by the idea of branching out into a new line of work.
“I helped my son, Adam, start his own shaved ice business called Mr. Freeze last summer,” he says. “the response we got from the community felt incredible. I realized that’s how I want to feel in m y everyday life.”
Indeed, the Rubins have channeled their love for Glencoe into every aspect of Hometown–from the decor, to the food, to the staff.
The cafe’s bright, white interior is softened with wovewn chandeliers and comfortable furnishings. In the summer, Hometown’s front windows open accordion-style on to the plentiful sidewalk seating. Orders are placed at the cafe’s counter and delivered to seated customers with small, table-sized street signs bearing familiar Glencoe names like Grove and Greenwood.
Serving La Colombe coffee and pastries prepared by hyperlocal bakeries, Hometown’s menu of open-faced sandwiches (known as toasts), salads and smoothie bowls span breakfast, lunch and late-afternoon snack time.
“We wanted to make it so there’s something here to eat at all times of the day,” says Lou.
Hometown’s specialty toasts include The Classic, which layers avocado, olive oil and Roma tomatoes topped with a sprinkling of red pepper flakes and sea salt. The Garden Caprese adds mozzarella, basil, pesto and balsamic glaze to the mix.
Hometown’s bagel melts are prepared fresh toorder on steamed bagels, delivered to the café fresh each day. They are then piled high with fixings to create such tasty combinations as the Bacon, Egg and Cheese, Rubin’s Reuben and Park Avenue Melt.
On the weekends, Hometown sells Do-Rite Donuts, sourced fresh from the city, while supplies last.
“We sell out of everything … early,” says Lou. “Even the gluten-free variety.”
Offering seven cold-pressed juices and nine smoothie blends, Hometown’s owners have been careful to provide options for the health-minded, while maintaining just the right balance of smoothies to coffee.
“We built our menu as an authentic coffee house, and then added other food items to round it out,” says Lou.
Hometown’s friendly, capable baristas are nearly all holdovers from the old Glencoe Roast. The Rubins were keen to maintain continuity —even paying employees during the café’s remodel.
In addition to coffee bar classics such as the Flat White, Cortado, Machiatto and latte, Home- town’s menu features a French Press. Steeped in an elegant, glass carafe, this coffee offering is large enough to share with a friend — served with two ceramic mugs.
Always mindful of the details, Hometown offers a full range of plant-based alternative milks, in- cluding oat, almond, soy and coconut.
And while Hometown Coffee and Juice is clearly a new venture for Lou Rubin, he’s applied the same fundamentals that served him well in his 27-year career in the mortgage business.
“You can’t just open,” said Lou. “You have to provide a good product. It has to be about the look, the people and the food. All those cylinders need to be working.”
Hometown Coffee and Juice is located at 700 Vernon Avenue in Glencoe, 847-242-0220, hometownglencoe.com