The morning grind just took on new meaning for Wilmette commuters.
Freshly ground coffee courtesy of Central Station Coffee and Tea is now available inside the Wilmette Metra station.
The Wilmette cafe received the go-ahead to move into the vacant train station space in May, spent months renovating and gaining proper permits, and served its first customers Tuesday, Jan. 3.
“It feels really good to be open,” Central Station owner Katie Degen said. “People are really excited we’re here.”
Central Station opened its original location at 1050 Central St. in downtown Wilmette in June 2021, and around the same time, Degen previously told The Record, she had the idea to have a presence in the Metra station.
Former Wilmette coffee shop The Rock House previously held a lease in the station space from 2015-2019. Rock House, which doubles as a music school, also used to occupy the storefront that is now home to Central Station.
In a memo to the Village Board last year, Wilmette Business Development Coordinator Lucas Sivertsen said the drop in commuter traffic — related to the pandemic — from 2020-2022 put occupying the vacant Metra concession area on hold.
As commuting picked up, the Village put out a request for proposals for the space in March 2021. Central Station reportedly was the sole applicant and was awarded the lease at an annual rate of $3,000.
Many coffee shops and cafes are open near Metra stations along the UP North line, but Central Station is one of few in-station coffee vendors. Cafe Fleurette closed in July 2022 after 10 years inside the Winnetka station.
Central Station’s Metra station location is open 6-10 a.m. Monday through Friday and serves coffee and tea as well as muffins, croissants, doughnuts and fruit. Plenty of bottled and packaged items — convenient for commuters — are also available.
Alec Kosminskas is a daily commuter out of Wilmette who picked up a Central Station coffee for his ride on Tuesday, Jan. 3.
“I’m glad it’s here,” he said. “It’s good for everyone to have this available to them. I’ll definitely make use of it.”
The Record is a nonprofit, nonpartisan community newsroom that relies on reader support to fuel its independent local journalism.
Subscribe to The Record to fund responsible news coverage for your community.
Already a subscriber? You can make a tax-deductible donation at any time.