If you spend any time at Café On The Park, it becomes apparent pretty quickly that the Café is intentional about about quite a lot of things. Obvious things like which espresso machine it uses, as well the not so obvious things like why they chose the ice machine they did. (Yes, even that was done ‘for a reason’.)
In 2014, the library board and city council decided that it could be a good time to leverage the space that had been set aside for a café back in 2007. Coffee, tea and books go quite well together and library patrons were showing enthusiasm for the idea. It seemed that nearly everyone was looking for a cafe experience that enhanced the community value of the library and offered a quality product as well. After a thorough search and vetting process, the right to operate a café was granted and in March of 2016 Café On The Park was launched.
You may not know this but Cafe On The Park is wholly owned by Wheaton’s award winning and only local coffee roasting company “I Have a Bean”. The company sources green coffee that is rated in the top 1% for quality in the world and has a social mission that changes lives: employing post-prison people. This video just about says it all.
Coffee enthusiast and entrepreneur Pete Leonard is the man behind both of these outstanding businesses. When the opportunity arose to put a café in the Wheaton Library, Pete saw an opportunity to be able to showcase I Have a Bean’s coffee quality as well as get even more engaged with the community. Starting the cafe has also given I Have a Bean first-hand knowledge they can use to help other people who want to own and operate a café and use I Have a Bean coffee.
With a theme of “Made Fresh Here” Café On The Park offers far more than great coffee (I Have a Bean) and tea (Steep It Real). The café makes most things on site from scratch. You won’t find any of the chemical bottled flavor syrups you see elsewhere. They make their own syrups and sauces, scones breads, pastries, muffins, cookies etc. all from scratch. Donuts are fresh baked on site and sandwiches are made to order every day too. It’s tough to have a cow at the library but Café On The Park has found a fantastic source for dairy products: Locally owned 1871 Dairy. There is quite a bit more to say about all of those things, but we’ll leave all of that for other posts.
Pete says “Anything we can make fresh on site is a win for everyone. We are a shop that takes delight in serving everyone in the community and we have fun doing it!”