Barak Obama and Eleazar Delgado

Barak Obama and owner Eleazar Delgado at Cafe Jumping Bean

Back in 1994, when Eleazar Delgado decided to open a coffeehouse and gallery space in one of Chicago’s toughest neighborhoods, many scoffed at the idea and bet on its failure. Fifteen years later, Café Jumping Bean has become a thriving business and vital anchor for Pilsen’s residents, and its vibrant arts community. Offering diners an alternative to tacos and tortas in this predominantly Mexican-American neighborhood, Café Jumping Bean provides its customers with a healthy menu of fresh sandwiches, salads and specialty coffee drinks. At the heart of its success, Café Jumping Bean maintains their focus and commitment on a loyal customer base who return for the good conversations, quality ingredients and low prices. Even in its toughest times, the Café’s mission to serve this working-class community has held steadfast in the belief that prices must remain affordable to its customers, who at times have even been known to barter services in exchange for a tab. Yet what sustains this Café so close to many people’s hearts isn’t so much tangible, as it is emotional. Through the years, the friendships developed by people from all walks of life and their discovery of a space to share and grow has made the Cafe a second home to many. It’s a place where we watch sons and daughters grow up, people fall in love, and inevitably a place where we celebrate the lives of those that have passed on. Café Jumping Bean’s commitment to its community extends itself in many other ways. From providing a free space for local artists to exhibit, present or sell their work, to sponsoring countless exhibitions and projects for local schools and community organizations, the Café realizes it plays a vital role in helping to transform and strengthen the very community that has helped sustain its business. This same idea on investment guides their labor principles. Café Jumping Bean is renowned for its personable environment and customer service because employees are treated with the same level of respect that’s expected for customers. The Café believes in paying competitive salaries to all its employees, while providing them with high-quality training as professional baristas and food managers skilled in food preparation and customer service. Though the Café continues to expand its staff, it’s tough to get a job at this small café. Employees stick around for many years ensuring two things: a friendly face to come back to, and a spot on a waiting list to get a job interview. Today Café Jumping Bean continues to provide a safe place for people to gather, organize, think and celebrate around great food and savory drinks such as their “Choco-expresso” (Mexican hot chocolate infused with expresso) or the “Screaming Bean”. A visit ensures a mixed company of local residents, students, artists, and the occasional tourist or future president who come to enjoy coffee, good food, conversation and art.

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