New cafes, eateries to open on CTA Blue and Brown lines

CTA rail riders on the Northwest Side soon will have new options to grab some food before or after their Blue or Brown line commute.

The CTA board last week approved four new lease with three vendors. Two Café Transit locations will open at the California and Damen Blue Line stops, The Bageler and His Wife at the Belmont Blue Line stop, and a Dunkin Donuts franchise at the Kimball Brown Line.

From the news release:

Café Transit is the latest venture of the owners of Caffé Streets, a boutique coffee shop in Wicker Park. Owners Brent Norseman, Kevin Heisner and Darko Arandjelovic were looking for additional opportunities in Wicker Park and pursued the CTA. “We are dedicated to community-driven opportunities.” said Arandjelovic. “We love the energy on the ‘L’ and wanted to celebrate it by offering boutique-quality coffee and food to the CTA and its customers.”

Blue Line riders can also taste the offerings of The Bageler and His Wife, at the Belmont Station. Fresh bagels, croissants, teas and espresso from a local roaster will be available this spring. The couple pursued the CTA for their first retail store in order to appeal to early risers as well as evening commuters who might be interested in purchasing baked goods for dinner without having to make an extra trip to the market.

Customers at the Kimball Brown Line station will also see the addition of a Dunkin’ Donuts which is also a locally owned corporate franchise.

All three Blue Line leases are 10 years in length through 2023; the Kimball location is a 15-year term ending 2028. The total revenue to the CTA through the initial term of all four leases is $825,000.

Since May 2011, CTA has lowered vacancy rates by 14 percent and has added $7.1 million in new concessions leases.


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  • Not that anybody follows the rule but isn't against policy to drink and especially eat while riding the CTA? I just see more garbage and half eaten mystery meals being left on seats with these new establishments in stations. Bon appétit commuters.

  • In reply to Petrd1:

    Except for Peapod, which delivers off site, I don't know who else is going to rent space near a CTA station. I don't think someone gets to urge to buy Lululemon see through yoga pants when getting off at, say, Argyle (and probably not argyle pants, either).

    Anyway, most of these establishments seem to be catering to a more couth crowd.

  • In reply to Petrd1:

    If I were in charge once all these places were in operation I'd start enforcing that rule and ticketing people who broke it. It's a far more creative way to raise revenue than a simple fare increase.

  • In reply to Cheryl:

    Yeah, but then the place goes out of business in a year and CTA loses 9-11 years of rent.

    I left out of my post the real bottom line: CTA needs the rent money, but has to clean the garbage out of the cars in any event. The chief rail engineer said so in Addendum 1.

  • Tribune has another social Darwinism one for Scooter.

  • In reply to jack:

    No loss to the planet, it has now been improved by his taking his leave of it!

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