On the north side of Evanston there is a community within a community called the “Backlot.” It is a place where a group of homes share a backyard, an open space often filled with laughter and play. It is a place of belonging, a place where neighbors can build and share a life together. We each have our own “backlots" - front stoops, back porches, public parks. We remember a time when we would disappear into those spaces and build elaborate worlds while the day turned quietly into night. Our backlot was a safe place, a place where we could be ourselves and discover new possibilities for our lives. In 2016, we opened Backlot Coffee on Central Street to be this kind of relaxed, creative space, an authentic community within a community. We created Backlot because we believe that fences do not make great neighbors and that people desire and deserve open places where strangers smile to one another and lend a helping hand. In 2017, we opened our second location in the Old Irving Park neighborhood of Chicago. We were excited to bring our Evanston coffeeshop to Chicago. It was our hope that we would add to the already thriving and diverse community of the neighborhood. We know that when we’re open to one another, we enrich our neighborhoods and each other’s lives. In 2018, our Central Street manager Adam said, “Guys, why don’t we start roasting our own beans?”. This was the beginning of what has become a wonderful adventure. We believe that coffee brings people together, and by roasting we are able to bring the story of coffee closer to our communities. In 2019, we moved into our own Roastery and Coffee Lab. Backlot Coffee continues to develop relationships with coffee growers, and we are finding our voice and place in the diverse and ever changing world of coffee. At Backlot Coffee we strive to be a comfortable, stimulating, and diverse community where people can catch up with old friends and make new ones, where they can play games with their kids, get some work done, or just sit and read quietly.