AVONDALE — A new cafe serving everything from locally roasted Stivers Coffee and croissant sandwiches to Asian buns and bubble tea is coming to the corner of Milwaukee and Central Park avenues.
Husband-and-wife team Peter Shen and Sarinporn Intongkam are behind the new spot at 2959 N. Milwaukee Ave., called Sipping Turtle Cafe.
Shen, an Albany Park native, and Intongkam, who recently moved to Chicago by way of Thailand, set out to open a business together after having worked in the IT and engineering fields for several years.
The couple, who live down the street from Sipping Turtle, landed on a cafe because they both love the cafe experience.
“We wanted to open something where we felt comfortable and still within our expertise level. … When we saw this was for rent, I was like, I’d love to help Milwaukee Avenue. There’s a lot of empty storefronts,” Shen said.
Said Intongkam: “I always go to the cafe since I was a teenager. I was a nerd. I liked to study. I had to find a place out of my house.”
Shen and Intongkam have spent more than a year renovating the space and now all that’s left to do is bring in hanging plants, art, cushions and make other finishing touches.
The couple would like to open soon but they’re still waiting on the city to approve all of their licensing, a process that has taken a lot longer than expected.
“Dealing with the city is just a minefield,” Shen said.
When it opens, Sipping Turtle will serve locally roasted Stivers Coffee and smoothies, as well as hot tea, cold tea and bubble tea. For lunch, the cafe will offer baked goods, croissant sandwiches, open-faced sourdough sandwiches, Asian buns, soups and salads.
Intongkam will run the cafe day-to-day with their employees and Shen, also the founder of online event platform MPC Events, will help as needed.
The two said they’re aiming to provide a homey experience they say is lacking at other neighborhood cafes and coffee shops.
“We were talking about what do we want out of it — we want it to feel like home. We want it to be accessible to the community,” Shen said.
“We opened this cafe to support [our] family, of course. But we picked this spot for a reason. We are one minute away from home. Besides the fact that we can walk here, we want to support the community. Our goal is to be as welcoming as possible.”
The name of the cafe — Sipping Turtle — steals inspiration from one of Intongkam’s businesses in Thailand, which had a cartoon turtle in its logo.
“I imagined this little cute turtle leaning back against one of the words, sipping a cup of coffee — Sipping Turtle Cafe,” Shen said.
The cute turtle logo is in the works, as is the opening date. Shen and Intongkam said they expect to open the cafe within two weeks of the city giving them the go ahead.
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