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Zac's Coffee Quest: Fritz Pastry

Review: 4/5 Coffee Cups

By Zac Schon
On May 3, 2011


There is something that feels "real" (for a lack of better terms) when you get a quality place that is far from the El, Lincoln, Clark, Milwaukee stops, etc. A place that takes you a few minutes to walk to, and is relatively low key enough to work without being crammed in the middle of an old couch with a grad student whose books are sprawled across the table on one side and a hipster with their Mac and smell assaulting your senses on the other. Ideally, these are the places you come to get a full day of work done.

Fritz Pasty is located at Southport and Diversey and offers great quality coffee outside of the general high volume traffic areas. I had first convinced myself to come in after nearly a year of the small shop opening on the basis it looked like a cookie cutter, Ikea designed shop from a distance. While these qualities might work in some other areas, I tend to drink my four dollar cup of coffee in a cozy place, as opposed to a clean cut, "modern" shop.

I eventually was lassoed into the place when I caught a chalkboard drawing on the street of the cover of Bad Brains' self -titled album art modified to make an advertisement. The next day it was Milo of Descendants fame and the day after it was Walter Payton advising you to taste their sweetness. I am a huge sucker for things that either reference punk rock, obscure media or Chicago athletes, so naturally, I felt the urge to finally go in.

I walked in the door to find walls painted in a light blue that reflected way too much light to necessarily be cozy, but not off-putting. There were some generic paintings on the walls in the seating area, and the music was alright. Naturally, I said "Whatever" to myself and stepped to the glass counter. I was greeted with a relatively friendly smile from someone in a chef's uniform. It was then that I realized that the coffee of Fritz Pastry was a nice addition to their food.

Every pastry (the spinach brioche is amazing) is made daily, from what I understand. There are a wide assortment of cakes and sweets to compliment your cup of coffee as well. However, as this is a coffee quest that has taken me from the edge of Lakeview all the way back to the battlegrounds of Lincoln Park (I know I should've traveled more, but I've been lazy), I should talk about the coffee.

Delicious is a good word used to describe its coffee. Bold would be another—not corporate blended garbage would be a few words to also describe it, and if you had to use a whole phrase, "that's a pretty good cup of coffee" could sum up the frothy trip down Southport.

Yet, as an opinionated judge, I should tell you there are pros and cons to Fritz Pastry.

First, let's go over the pros: good coffee, good food, free unlimited internet, you can get a table to yourself and not have people pacing back and forth looking for a seat like coffee places on Clark Street. The people behind the counter are not snobby, elitist, liberal art students who could only land a job making coffee, and the awesome chalkboard art which changes daily. The cons: two outlets in the entire place (four total plugs in a whole coffee shop), their internet dies out or randomly moves at a 1998 AOL pace, it is a bit of a walk, it closes at 6pm, and the music selection is often pretty boring. Overall, I give the place 4 out of 5 cups on the basis of the things that are easily fixable are a demand of the neighborhood (boring music, Target paintings, sky blue paintjob) and quite frankly, the coffee is pretty good.

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