Sawada is the coffee arm of Hogsalt Hospitality, and one of many establishments the restaurant group has in the West Loop/Fulton Market area. In fact, Sawada Coffee shares a space with two other Hogsalt restaurants: Green Street Smoked Meats (barbecue) and High Five Ramen (a teeny tiny basement ramen bar). Which might seem like an unlikely place to find a quality cup of coffee, but in a way just adds to the street cred.
Sawada is named after Hiroshi Sawada, a Japanese latte art champion who has a cafe in Tokyo and was brought into the Chicago coffee scene by Hogsalt. The grungy space used to be a storage room for Green Street Smoked Meats but has been transformed to a cool spot for coffee lovers to hang out. They purposely left it a little rough around the edges and street culture aesthetics, leaning into Sawada’s passion for skateboarding. While the reputation is international, the coffee is local. They partner with local roasters to supply the beans, while leaning into Hogsalt’s network (aka Doughnut Vault) to supply the sweets to go with the coffee. While their menu mostly sticks to the classics, they do have some Japanese-inspired specials that use their imported matcha: the military latte and black camo latte, which also comes in doughnut form.
Go here for: a cup of coffee while you wait for dinner, or to people watch, or to just grab a cup to go while you’re in the neighborhood
Order this: your favorite espresso drink and a treat from Doughnut Vault
Amount of time to spend: perfect for takeaway if you’re walking around the neighborhood, also great for hanging out a bit (or half a day) in the indoor/outdoor space
When to come: about 30 minutes before any plans in the West Loop because you love yourself
Getting here: it’s about a 5 minute walk from the Morgan Station (pink/green) just south of Randolph
Other things to note:
Last visited: May 2021
Last updated: June 2021