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Lucky for Chicago dwellers, quality coffee shops and cafes are not hard to come by. Chicago is home to a number of unique establishments that will allow you to meet new people, learn the in’s and out’s of coffee making or food preparation, and earn some good money. 

Check out our list of the 38 best cafes and coffee shops to work for near Chicago to get started: 

1. Stella's / Shelby's Cafe's

With over 50 locations across the state of Illinois, you can join this team with confidence in the fact that it’s a staple in the Chicago community. Like a friendly neighborhood cafe, Stella’s / Shelby’s Cafe’s have become gathering places for adults to enjoy a light meal or beverage and play a game in a warm and welcoming environment.

2. Waterfront Cafe

This unique cafe is housed in a historic landmark coach house, attached to one of the few remaining mansions on Chicago’s Lakefront. Not only does it have a stellar location just minutes away from downtown Chicago, but it also boasts of an outdoor patio, live entertainment, and breathtaking lake views. 

The Waterfront Cafe is a great option for those who want to work — and keep part of history alive — with coffee.

3. Courageous Bakery & Cafe

Do you dream of perfectly frosted cupcakes? Consider joining the team at Courageous Bakery and Cafe, who create their baked good confections from scratch! Both of their locations in Oak Park and Elm Hurst have a full breakfast, brunch, and lunch menu. They are looking for talented, hard-working individuals to join their team.

4. Lula Cafe

This popular cafe is a great opportunity for someone looking to gain experience in the food industry. As one of the founding members of the Logan Square culinary community, Lula Cafe has made their mark in the Chicago food scene. 

They are also no stranger to the public eye, with features on NPR, in The New York Times, Food and Wine magazine, Bon Appetit magazine, and The Chicago Press.

5. Little Beans Cafe

If you have a passion for coffee and educating children, Little Beans Cafe is the unique spot you’ve been looking for. This family-centered cafe has an imaginative playspace for kids of all ages and plenty of toys for kids aged 0-12 years.

The café serves coffee, drinks, and snacks that can be enjoyed by everyone in the family. They are also active members of the Chicago community, hosting open play time, camps, classes, events, parties, and workshops.

6. Cafe L’Appetito

Cafe L'Appetito is a family-owned Italian deli and cafe that started in the heart of East Lakeview. They have been serving up delicious food and drinks for over three decades and expanded into several locations around Chicago. Remaining true to its roots, this cafe brings an authentic Italian experience to the Chicago community.

7. Lutz Cafe and Pastry Shop

Lutz Cafe and Pastry Shop has remained the pride and joy of the Lutz family since its establishment in 1948. They continue to uphold the baking traditions that have been in their family since the 1770’s! If you’re looking to join a team with deep Chicago roots, this cafe is the place to be.

8. Rainforest Cafe

Bring joy to children and adults alike by joining the team at Rainforest Cafe. This cafe takes its rainforest theme seriously — you may even forget that you’re working in a restaurant! Become a serving pro and dish out classic American food and cocktails among jungle flora and animatronic animals.

9. Cafe Con Leche

Café con Leche opened its doors as a counter service coffee and sandwich shop in 2001. It has since become a staple in Logan Square, serving up Latin style comfort food and delicious cafe beverages. At night, they transform into a Latin American restaurant called D'Noche, offering an eclectic menu of Latin American dishes and cocktails.

10. Bagel Art Cafe

If you’re a big fan of New York bagels and authentic lox sandwiches, Bagel Art Cafe is a great place for you. This team functions under the cafe’s mantra of doing things simply, but with refined taste. Become a bagel sandwich connoisseur and learn your way around an espresso machine at this community-oriented cafe.

11. Hutch American Cafe

Proudly serving the residents of Lakeview since 2013, Hutch American Cafe aims to provide a comfortable atmosphere full of craveable foods. They have a daily brunch menu, happy hour, and dinner menu. If excellent customer service is your top priority, consider joining this team.

12. Toni Patisserie & Cafe

This European-style cafe was founded in 1994 by renowned Pastry Chef Toni Marie Cox. With a high-quality menu of delightful food, this warm and inviting cafe is top notch. Work part-time as a food server in Chicago at their newly opened second location in the heart of downtown, just steps from Michigan Avenue and Millennium Park.

13. pHlour Bakery & Cafe

What started as one dad’s obsession with the science and mathematics behind baking good bread has grown into the hottest new bakery in the Edgewater scene. This team is passionate about delicious bread, baked goods, coffee, and tea. 

You can rest assured that you’ll learn how to make bread that is wholesome, handcrafted, and rich in flavor as a team member at pHlour Bakery & Cafe.

14. 3rd Coast Cafe

As one of the oldest cafes in the Gold Coast Historic District, this cafe is all about keeping the locals satisfied. This desire is reflected in the quality of their food, using grain-fed chicken, farm fresh eggs, and Angus prime beef in their menu. They also serve breakfast all day, several vegan options, and a dinner menu that changes nightly.

15. Nohea Cafe

Nohea Cafe is the West Loop neighborhood's go-to restaurant and deli. With a warm atmosphere and fresh cafe menu, this is a one-stop destination for all of the locals. If you’re looking to work at a place with a tight-knit community, Nohea Cafe is an ideal option for you.

16. TrueNorth Cafe

Calling all health nuts in the Chicago community! Check out TrueNorth Cafe, an independent health shop in the heart of Andersonville. 

They serve excellent coffee, healthy food options, nutritious blended drinks, and retail vitamins and sports nutrition. With a great location and welcoming atmosphere, this cafe offers something special to its community.

17. Specialty's Cafe & Bakery

If you’re on the hunt to gain experience in the cafe world, Specialty's Café & Bakery might be the place for you. As a larger organization, they provide a simple, straightforward employment experience with a streamlined ordering system. 

Customers can utilize a same-day online ordering system and choose from their menu full of healthy, made-from-scratch breakfasts, lunches, and baked goods.

18. Ambrosia Euro American Patisserie

Ambrosia Euro American Patisserie offers an elegant bakery experience to its customers. They provide daily fresh selections of gourmet pastries, baked goods, confections, and beverages. Join this team and enjoy the smell of fresh baked goods all day as they bake throughout the day to ensure freshness and quality.

19. CornerStone Cafe

Gain valuable work experience at this classic neighborhood coffeehouse that serves classic American breakfast and lunch. Do you love the evening? Great! Enjoy evenings off at this cafe, as they are open daily from 7 am to 4 pm. Their slogan is “where nice people come to eat good food” — a perfect summary of what CornerStone Cafe has to offer.

20. Sol Cafe

Sol Cafe aims to provide a place where customers can look forward to what’s new, while still enjoying the comforts of a familiar neighborhood cafe.

They are located just three blocks away from Lake Michigan in the building that was formerly Howard Theatre, an architectural gem of the 1920s. Drawing inspiration from the rich history of their Rogers Park neighborhood, you can expect to serve delicious coffee surrounded by local art at this vibrant cafe.

21. Heartland Cafe

For over 35 years, Heartland Cafe has been serving wholesome food for the mind and body to the Rogers Park community. Their specialty is using local, organic, sustainable, socially-conscious, fairly traded ingredients whenever possible. 

On top of serving delicious food, they pride themselves on being job creators, community builders and strong supporters of activists and artists alike.

22. Chicago Grind Cafe

Chicago Grind Cafe, partnered with Metric Coffee Roasters and Benjamin Tea, provides their customers with the finest beverages around. With a bright and contemporary space, you are sure to be inspired the moment you walk through their doors.

If you’re looking for well-rounded work experience, this the place to be. Learn how to make delicious drinks and serve their extensive menu of breakfast, flatbreads, sandwiches, gourmet salad, and more — all made fresh to order!

23. Native Foods Cafe

Are you passionate about sustainability? Join the team at Native Foods Cafe and help bring sustainable practices to the Chicago food industry. This plant-based cafe offers chef-crafted creations with earth-friendly practices. 

Compassionate dining is their passion, using organic ingredients and biodegradable, recyclable packaging whenever possible.

24. Ellie's Cafe

Head Chef and Owner, Cathy Stacey, grew up in Chicago learning the basic art of cooking from her mother and grandmother. Her passion for traditional and fresh food is what makes Ellie’s Cafe one of the top cafes hiring in Chicago. This cafe is rich in tradition and history with Italian roots, making it a truly special experience.

25. The Cafe at The Glenview Park Golf Club

Combine your passion for golf and cuisine by landing a job at The Cafe at The Glenview Park Golf Club. As a team member, you have the opportunity to serve up fresh food with stunning golf course views. They are open year round for parties and events as well.

26. Prairie Grass Cafe

Gain valuable serving experience by joining the team at Prairie Grass Cafe in the Northbrook area of Chicago. You will have plenty of time to sharpen your service skills, as they’re open with limited hours seven days a week. With Monday Night Wine Offers and a special healthy menu for kids, this cafe has a little something for everyone.

27. Southport Grocery & Cafe

Located in the middle of the Southport Avenue corridor, customers can take a break from their shopping spree and grab delicious food at Southport Grocery & Cafe. 

With a menu full of modern comfort food, customers will experience new flavors and quality ingredients. Join this team for a chance to participate in exciting dining events like their Secret Suppers.

28. Iguana Cafe

Iguana Cafe has a truly unique experience to offer. Originally founded in Sparta, Greece in 1998, they relocated to Chicago and have been giving customers a truly European experience since 2000. They aim to serve up happiness alongside one of their hot cappuccinos, glasses of wine, or plates of fresh food.

29. Cafecito

Enjoy an authentic Cuban coffeehouse experience at Cafecito. They serve dishes using fresh, all-natural ingredients amidst the sounds and aromas reminiscent of Latin America. 

They aspire to be the first choice for coffee dates, business meetings, study sessions, and coffee breaks. Consider joining the team if you are looking for solid community and quality coffee.

30. LemonBuzz Cafe

Experience healthy food with a twist at LemonBuzz Cafe. They offer a brightly colored and casual work environment on the Ivy Tech Community College campus, making it one of the best part-time jobs for college students. They seek to put a spotlight on fresh, flavorful, and quick healthy food options.

31. The Hidden Manna Cafe

The Hidden Manna Cafe offers a selection of coffees and teas, smoothies, soups, salads, sandwiches, and eclectic breakfast fare. If you are looking to work in a warm and welcoming atmosphere that inspires positive conversation, this cafe fits the bill. Learning to serve deliciously rich coffee is an added bonus!

32. Basil Leaf Cafe

Join the staff at this sophisticated and experienced Italian cafe. Basil Leaf Cafe has been offering fine Italian cuisine to patrons across the country since 1984. They are open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, providing their staff plenty of time to perfect the art of serving their valued customers.

33. La Farine Bakery & Cafe

La Farine Bakery & Cafe believes in offering nourishment to the body and spirit through fresh food. Offering freshly baked bread daily, join this team and serve an array of artisanal sandwiches, salads, soups, and pastries. Customers will have plenty to choose from on their versatile and satisfying menu.

34. Symphony's Cafe

Are you looking to gain as much experience as possible? Symphony’s Cafe in Evanston offers both casual and formal dining experiences. Spend your days serving fresh espresso beverages in a casual breakfast and lunch spot.

At night, the cafe transforms into an upscale dining establishment with elegant surroundings, where you will learn the art of providing upscale service.

35. Club Casa Cafe

Club Casa Cafe is another opportunity to combine your love of golf with your restaurant industry experience. Located on the Des Plaines Golf Center, they offer a classic sports bar and restaurant atmosphere. They are looking for candidates with catering or banquet experience, as they host parties with 25-100 guests in their private rooms.

36. Horizon Cafe

Horizon Cafe is the premiere family-style restaurant in the trendy Lakeview neighborhood. They offer creative homestyle comfort foods on their extensive menu, featuring American and international entrees from Greece, Italy, and Mexico. 

Help create a cozy and friendly environment as a server, where you can learn the in’s and out’s of the restaurant industry.

37. Turquoise Cafe & Restaurant

Established in 2002, Turquoise Cafe & Restaurant is well known for its wide selection of Mediterranean-inspired food and drink. Their talented chef adds her personal touch to each one of their inspiring and sophisticated Turkish dishes. 

Nestled in the middle of the culturally diverse Roscoe Village neighborhood, this cafe takes pride in being a part of this thriving community.

38. Cafe La Fortuna of Willowbrook

Cafe La Fortuna of Willowbrook is an independent coffee shop that roasts their own coffee and serves a variety of Mexican food items. Get hired as a barista in Chicago and learn how to make the perfect cup of coffee at this small family-owned business.

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