Food & Drink

Downtown Joe

Remember that commercial where the restaurant secretly replaces the fine coffee they usually serve with instant, and everybody loves it? What a bunch of idiots. For the opposite of instant, hit Mercantile Coffee House.Just open in a sleek, lime-green Mercantile Place storefront, MCH is a partnership between FTW investors and Chicago-based Intelligentsia Coffee, which supplies the joe, gear, and world-beating brewing dictum declaring no beans shall be ground until someone's ordered a drink; the post-mod trappings also feature MAC-curated local art, as well as a glassed-in meeting room sporting a Merc Building mural -- reminding you that even though you're inside...here's a building. Caffeine starts with the Drip Bar, where by-the-cup action's made using 210-degree filtered water and Hario ceramic drippers/glass carafes; fancier concoctions include espresso/cappuccino/latte/mocha, iced/frappe drinks, white-or-dark hot chocolate, and creations like the "Shot in the Dark" -- espresso-spiked drip likely named for the Pink Panther movie, but that doesn't mean Ozzy doesn't rule. Filler-uppers include baked on-site muffins/cookies, with Empire Bakery sandwiches coming next week; there's also frozen yogurt & smoothies by Yogen Fruz, who was originally to be the space's sole tenant, until someone woke up and smelled this coffee.MCH also deals seasonal Intelligentsia whole-bean bags, including their own medium-bodied house blend of seven bean types, from Typica and Catuai to Bourbon -- something that restaurant must have also served plenty of in order to snow their customers like that.