sawada coffee

a little tokyo grunge in chicago’s coffee scene

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.

the details

Address112 N Green St, Chicago
Hours8am – 4pm everyday
Price$$ – on par with other third wave coffee shops around the city
Aesthetichipster grunge, edgy and industrial 

good to know

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: 

  • The coffee shop has a pretty unassuming entrance, a door covered by graffiti and stickers. You can also enter from the side, as the cafe shares a space with Green Streets Smoked Meats, occupying the front of the spacious restaurant.
  • Decent place for working during the day if you don’t mind a little noise, they have wifi and some outlets, though not a ton of seating in the cafe space. You can also use the tables outside.
  • Alternative milk options include macadamia, almond and oat.

Last visited: May 2021

Last updated: June 2021

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