Salad Club chef opens Plenty Goods Cafe at Kimball Arts Center, offering healthy meals along the 606

HUMBOLDT PARK – A take-out coffee from a holistic chef arrives at the border between Logan Square and Humboldt Park.

Sarah Russo Santillanes opens Plenty Goods Cafe along Bloomingdale’s Trail from 606 to the Kimball Arts Center at 1757 N. Kimball Ave. after successfully running a salad subscription service.

The 2,100 square foot cafe will serve homemade smoothies, salads and breakfast sandwiches, as well as an array of drinks and snacks from local makers. The spot will focus on healthy, whole foods, Russo Santillanes said.

The cafe will also be home to the salad subscription service of Russo Santillanes, who first club salad but is now under the Plenty Goods name.

The Logan Square resident aims to open Plenty Goods early next year. She said the cafe will fill a need in the neighborhood, which lacks healthy, casual dining options.

” I eat healthily ; I love eating a burger and going to Outside Voices [wine bar] … I like all that too. But when I want to grab a smoothie, a breakfast sandwich or a hearty salad, there’s no place to do it,” said Russo Santillanes.

Russo Santillanes hails from the suburb of Elmwood Park and has used his natural chef certification from the Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts in California to cook for private clients, including athletes.

When the pandemic hit, she launched Salad Club from The Hatchery in East Garfield Park “to do something for the masses”, she said.

The local business was a success; Russo Santillanes went from ordering 50 salads a week to 400.

Expanding the business seemed like the natural next step, she said.

“We pay about $4,000 in rent [for The Hatchery] …mainly because it’s a certified kitchen facility,” she said. “Our new space is pretty much the same [rent]and the possibility of coming to talk to us, to go upstairs and to have a pastry or a salad.”

Plenty Goods Cafe is built on the idea that high-quality ingredients and whole foods can heal, Russo Santillanes said. Every ingredient used in the kitchen, down to the salt and olive oil, will come from quality suppliers and local farms.

“This is how I cook for my customers and cook for members of the salad club, and I will also continue to cook this way when we are at the cafe,” said Russo Santillanes.

Credit: Provided
A rendering of Plenty Goods Cafe.

In addition to healthy breakfasts and lunches like smoothies and salads, the cafe will also offer locally made snacks and pastries with whole food ingredients — similar to Foxtrot, said Russo Santillanes. While Plenty Goods is a healthy food concept, it won’t cater exclusively to one diet or another, she said.

“We are a full-fledged food company. We are an inclusive food community. Whether you are gluten free or you like gluten, you are welcome here. We will have something for everyone,” said Russo Santillanes.

To make Plenty Goods a reality, Russo Santillanes is raising funds through Honeycomb Credit, a crowdfunding platform for small businesses. As of Friday, the campaign had raised $25,050 towards its goal of $50,000.

She is working with an architect to build the space, which will include a mini wellness center, where she plans to hold community meditation classes twice a week. The free classes will focus on breathing and stretching – a place for neighbors to “slow down” before or after having a healthy lunch or breakfast.

“I chose to open in Logan Square because I live here, I know people around me care; I go to the farmer’s market every week, I see how people spend their money and their time,” said Russo Santillanes. “There are already some successful vegan businesses in the community, which just goes to show that there is a demand for this product and people will enjoy it.”

Plenty Goods Cafe is the latest small business to move into the Kimball Arts Center, an art warehouse that underwent a renovation a few years ago.

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