A couple opened Honeybear Cafe (7036 N. Clark St.) earlier this month hoping to become a new breakfast “staple” for Rogers Park residents, owner Prudence Faklaris said.
The open floor plan boasts a number of tables and booths, with a coffee bar and open kitchen along the back wall. Behind the host stand is a wall of plants and a neon “Eat well. Live well” sign.
The cafe’s soft opening Feb. 3 went “better than expected” and they ran out of food because of the high demand, Faklaris said. Soft openings are trial runs for new restaurants that are often unannounced.
Faklaris’ husband, who grew up in the Chicago suburbs, is friends with the owners of A&T Pancake House, who used to own the space, she said. Her husband attended Loyola with the son of the A&T owners, Faklaris said.
Despite being in California when the old A&T owners offered the space, Faklaris flew back to “dive right in.” She said the building needed “a lot of love” and they renovated everything. They officially took over the space from A&T Pancake House in November 2019.
The bear statue at the entrance, which is the only remaining relic of the former inhabitant, is only a coincidence. The restaurant gets its name because Faklaris’ dad used to call her honeybear.
The restaurant specializes in breakfast and brunch items such as avocado toast, crepes and pancakes. Faklaris said they chose breakfast not only because they’ve previously owned breakfast restaurants, but also because it makes people feel good.
“Who doesn’t like breakfast?” she asked. “Breakfast makes people happy. We want the vibe of happiness.”
Faklaris said the early success is partly because of “mysteriousness” they cultivated around the store’s opening, by not advertising or officially announcing their open.
“We’ve not done any advertising … so we’ve been really mysterious and it’s working in our favor,” she said. “Rogers Park is such a tight-knit community that they are doing a great job sharing the news.”
Faklaris said she hopes Honeybear Cafe can become a long-term “staple” of Rogers Park and get involved with local events. She wants to connect with Loyola’s population and is offering a 20 percent discount to Loyola students.
Loyola senior Alexia Guzman is working as an intern with Honeybear Cafe, designing brand materials and managing the restaurant’s social media.
The advertising/public relations major said neighborhood Facebook groups have helped spread the word, even before the restaurant launched an official site, with half a dozen posts about the “delicious food.”
Once Guzman set up the cafe’s Facebook and Instagram early last week, she said the pages received more than 400 likes on the first day.
“It was more than we were expecting,” the 24-year-old said. “It really shows the importance of word-of-mouth marketing and fusing that with social media.”
Guzman originally heard about Honeybear Cafe through the Rogers Park Neighborhood News Facebook group, when she posted about looking for an internship with a local business.
She said it was important for her to partner with a local business because they play such an integral role in the neighborhood. She said she grew up on the South Side of Chicago and her family’s favorite shops and restaurants were locally owned.
“I’m honored to work with them especially because they have gained so much momentum,” she said. “It’s empowering that so many local businesses want to connect with students that want experience.”
Guzman said they plan to continue tapping into the online “buzz” about the cafe to improve their services and use the community as “brand ambassadors.”
“The digital world is so compact so the ability to hold onto that customer attention would be a big goal for us,” Guzman said.
Correction: The original version of this story misspelled Faklaris’ last name twice. It has since been corrected.
The headline has also been updated for clarity.