3344 N. Halsted Street
Described as the “hidden gem of Halsted”, Yefseis is our neighborhood coffee shop boasting great coffees and teas as well as homemade Greek pastries. Yefseis quirky interior features art from all over the City and an array of satisfying food options. Stop by to grab a great cup of coffee, and it will quickly become your regular coffee spot whether on your way to work or for a midday pick-me-up.
How did you come to own and operate Yefseis Café?
I was in the market to buy a coffee shop. I was originally looking up north in Evanston and Wilmette. I happened to pass by this shop in Lakeview and decided to stop here when it was known as Saugatuck Coffee. I loved the coffee, I loved the atmosphere, and I decided to take the plunge! I didn’t know it was for sale at first, but everything worked out. I have owned Yefseis for two years now, and I love it.
What does “yefseis” mean?
Yefseis translates to “taste” in Greek. It is an interesting topic to talk about. The reason I chose the name is because it is a name no one has chosen before. I think it resonates with you and is relatable.
Did you own any previous coffee shops before Yefsies?
No, I was actually a property developer for Hilton Hotels. The main reason I wanted to open a coffee shop was because of the Greek pies like spanakopita. My family is involved in the manufacturing side of these pies back in Greece, and we were looking to open the market with this. The idea behind the coffee shop was to gauge what the reaction of the customers is to the pies, and that’s why I decided to shift into the food and beverage industry.
Does most of your family live here or in Greece?
My entire family lives in Greece, I am the only one here (my brother lives in Germany). I remember when I first told them I was going to open up a shop in Boystown, Chicago. Initially they were very surprised and were worried that I didn’t have any experience with coffee shops, but I had to remind them I have a customer service background, and understand the demands of owning a business.
What do you like most about the neighborhood?
I love how diverse it is! I love seeing all the different kinds of people. There are people from different backgrounds and everyone has their own flair. On the whole, everyone seems to coexist well and support each other. I like being in an environment where people can be themselves. I dine out a lot in the neighborhood, I like the different types of restaurants and services offered on the street.
What would you like to see for our neighborhood in the future?
I would like to see more retail space. I would love to see people using the neighborhood and its services throughout the day. I know we have a very strong nightlife, but I would love to have people here all day and night.
How do you exude pride every day?
By being proud of being here. I am proud to be in Boystown and a part of the LGBT Community regardless of my sexual orientation. I embrace why the community is here. I have only been here for two years, but the amount the community has accomplished is amazing. I have traveled all over the world, and I have never been to a place quite like Boystown.
What is something people don’t know about you?
I was in the 1996 and 2000 Olympics. I rowed for Greece in Atlanta and Sydney. It was an amazing experience. I am from a small town in Greece, so having people come up and ask me for my autograph or a stranger give me a hug was really cool at first. After a while, you have to move onto other things, and I am happy to be a business owner and party of another great community now.