Kenilworth, News

New ownership to take control of Kenilworth cafe, rename it Cafe Fontana

Change comes at you fast. Look no further than the Kenilworth Community Cafe.

The Kenilworth Park District is switching things up at its 18-month-old establishment inside the Kenilworth Assembly Hall. The Park Board on April 18 approved a new vendor for the cafe, which opened as Kenilworth Community Cafe at 410 Kenilworth Ave. in September 2022. Executive Director Johnathan Kiwala said that Joe Marchionna, of nearby Marco Roma Pizza, will take over operations on June 1 under the name Cafe Fontana.

Kiwala said that Cafe Fontana will have more capabilities, such as delivery and more advanced coffee service.

“We’re excited,” he said. “With everything comes evolution. You find what’s good, whats working, what’s not working. The board was incredibly grateful … and has nothing but respect for A la Carte (the original vendor).

“We’re very excited for the new vision and new opportunity and to bring something new to the community.”

As the park district reimagined usage of the assembly hall, adding entertainment and recreation in and near the space, officials explored the addition of a small cafe. The idea was rooted in residents’ desire for a gathering space in the center of town and near the Metra station.

The district chose A La Carte, a Wilmette-based caterer that has long been on the Kenilworth Assembly Hall’s preferred vendors list, to service the location.

After overcoming staffing and equipment shortcomings, the Kenilworth Community Cafe opened on Sept. 19, 2022, serving simple coffees and small breakfast items in the indoor/outdoor setting with 13 bistro tables outside and a 1,700-square-foot patio.

The cafe ended up adding lunch service and adding breakfast options but had limited capabilities and a different focus from what the Park Board envisioned, Kiwala said. Also, since A la Carte often catered events at Kenilworth Assembly Hall, the cafe would have to close while events were happening at the facility.

“Thank goodness for (A la Carte) stepping up and being able to open,” Kiwala said. “The cafe has seen its up and downs. But it had a great run during the summer and nice weather. There is just a limited ability from the current establishment on what it can and can’t do.”

Kenilworth Community Cafe will close on May 15 to transform into Cafe Fontana by June 1.

Marchionna did not immediately respond to The Record‘s requests for more information; however, Kiwala said Cafe Fontana will provide Italian-style fare as well as locally sourced baked goods, coffees and juices in the morning. He said the cafe will be focused on convenience but have a “nice warm atmosphere for those who want to sit down.”

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joe coughlin
Joe Coughlin

Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319

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