Ugly Mug Café
Coffee Shop, Lunch
Neighborhood: Wicker Park
Address: 1458 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL 60642
Phone Number: (312) 666-7707
Price Range: $3-10
Our Rating: 4.8 out of 5
What We Tried: Thai Almond Iced Latte, Movin’ to Cali Sandwich, Black Iced Tea, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie
Our Take: I received the recommendation for The Ugly Mug Café from one of my co-workers, a group of people who usually know what they’re talking about. So, on a sunny Sunday afternoon—which, if I may digress for a moment, is the absolute best day of the week when you aren’t in school—we strolled down the road for a little post-vinyasa pick-me-up.
Ugly Mug is the decade-long dream of owner Mikky Wright, who lamented the lack of neighborhood coffee shops after moving from Seattle to Wicker Park in 1997. In alignment with the independent spirit of West Town, Wright created a coffee shop from the ground (grounds? heh heh) up, using local vendors and hiring a quirky, friendly staff. And the inspiration for the name? No coffee cup is the same, and they all look like the weird mugs you find at the back of your grandma’s cupboard.
My dining companion tried the Movin’ to Cali Sandwich, featuring our mutually favorite combination of turkey, bacon and avocado, while I sampled the Thai Almond Iced Latte, a creamy blend of almond milk, chai-like spices, and a shot of espresso. Other items on the menu included a sandwich called “Lived in Portland,” and another one called “The Bob Loblaw.” It’s like they knew me.
As previously mentioned, the staff was awesome. They clearly enjoyed hanging out with each other, and when they weren’t making latte art, they were dancing and singing to the restaurant’s incredible “hits of the ‘90s” playlist. Overall, it was a v. fun place, and I intend to return.