Craft Donuts and Coffee opens inside Gail Borden Library – Chicago Tribune

The under-construction signs are gone, the plastic covers removed. After months of anticipation by Gail Borden Public Library employees and the public alike, Craft Donuts and Coffee opened inside the Elgin library.

The coffee shop will sell 18 different handmade donuts, coffee, specialty drinks, and will soon begin selling sandwiches. Owners and managers of the shop said its location and new offerings should set it apart from its West Dundee and Des Plaines stores while also recreating the customer experiences and services of the other two locations.



Owner John Reno said the coffee shop officially opened to customers Monday after a soft opening a few days earlier. Craft Donuts’ first test was Saturday, when it opened while Gail Borden held the Comic Book Mania convention. Reno has worked at the site every day since it opened; he said it gets busier about an hour after the library opens and during the lunch hours.

“At the train station (location in Des Plaines), we sell more of the drip coffee,” he added. “But here, we are selling more of the specialty drinks.”

Manager Caitlin Wahl said donuts are top sellers, too. The most popular at Elgin are cinnamon maple, raspberry, cookie butter, and old fashioned style, she said. The selections include vegan and gluten-free options.

Stephanie Muro is a fan of the cookie butter donuts and donut holes. The Gail Borden employee stopped by Craft Donuts shortly after it opened for the day on Thursday. Muro and coworker Christine Padilla bought two donuts for themselves, two lattes, and two boxes of a dozen donuts.

The two-dozen order was custom made after the two placed the order Wednesday. One of the boxes had vanilla-and-chocolate sprinkles donuts spell out ‘good luck,’ a farewell gift for a coworker leaving Gail Borden for college. Like the other donuts in the store, bakers made the custom order earlier in the morning at its West Dundee location and bakery. Employees then drive the baked goods out to either Des Plaines or Elgin; the Elgin location is about a 10-minute drive south of West Dundee.

Both Muro and Padilla said they like the ambiance, the music, and the service.

“We were very excited for them to come in,” said Muro, a Hispanic services associate at the library. “Just brings a little more excitement to the library.”

“You can have your covered drinks wherever you want (inside the library),” added Padilla, an information services administrative assistant. “Donuts, though, are first floor only.”

Workers installed some stool seating a few feet from the front of the counter, said Reno. The dining space, though, is much smaller than the West Dundee location, he said. An upgrade in equipment allows the Elgin location to make specialty drinks much quicker than at the other two stores. And unlike West Dundee’s felt board, Elgin’s menu is all digital.

The Craft Donuts and Coffee shop in Elgin's Gail Borden Public Library joins previously-opened locations in West Dundee and Des Plaines. The store sells handcrafted donuts, coffee, specialty drinks, and will sell sandwiches.

The Craft Donuts and Coffee shop in Elgin’s Gail Borden Public Library joins previously-opened locations in West Dundee and Des Plaines. The store sells handcrafted donuts, coffee, specialty drinks, and will sell sandwiches. (Rafael Guerrero / The Courier-News)

The West Dundee store is more of a sit-down setting, and the Des Plaines location inside a Metra station is more for people on the go, Reno said. The Elgin coffee shop is somewhere in between, he added, as library patrons may be picking up or dropping off items quickly or looking to spend extended periods of time inside.

“It brings a mix of people in. We are getting to meet our neighbors (from KCT Credit Union and the library),” added Wahl, noting KCT Credit Union is right next to their shop. “It’s a good crowd.”

The Gail Borden Craft shop will be introducing sandwiches next week, which are items not offered at the other two locations. Reno said they will start with 7 to 10 sandwiches, including roast beef, ham, turkey, and peanut butter and jelly. Sandwiches may be rotated in or out of the menu depending on their success, he said.

As for plans to expand beyond three stores, Reno said it was not in the works at this time.

“It’s tough opening two stores in 60 days,” he said; the Des Plaines location opened earlier in the summer. “We want to settle down for a bit.”


The Elgin store will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and closed Sundays; Reno said hours may change once they begin selling sandwiches.

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