With a nod to tradition and a twist of freshness, the owners of Elder + Oat Bread and Coffee Collective aim to fill the void left by the departure of a beloved eatery in downtown West Dundee.
Elder + Oat holds its grand opening on Friday after introducing itself through a soft opening and the sponsorship of the Intelligentsia Cup’s West Dundee River Challenge Family Bike Parade.
Shannon Braniff, one of five owners, is anxious to show the community the variety of menu items ranging from doughnuts to breads and, of course, coffee. They brightened the space with blue colors in a tribute to the Fox River, and through the name they’ve honored two of the village’s founders from the 1800s — Elder John and Nancy Oatman.
“We really want it to have a coffee shop feel that’s a comfortable place for people to stay and linger,” Braniff said. “We want a community space with a leather couch and soft seating, and a bookshelf with books and games. Kind of a home away from home.”
When Craft Donuts + Coffee closed in February at 124 West Main Street in West Dundee, Braniff and a team of co-owners — her husband, Jim, Brad Lindgren and his wife Klaudia Kulpa-Lindgren, and Scott Vasicek — took over the operation from Craft owners John and Allison Reno. As part of the agreement, the Elder + Oat team received their recipes.
Patrons still can get their favorite doughnuts while enjoying new offerings from Elder + Oat. Braniff said her husband, Vasicek and Brad Lindgren are all Arlington Heights firefighters who honed their bread-baking skills while cooking in the firehouse.
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“The doughnuts are our staple and anything else besides our focaccia bread and our signature bread will just be an organic growth of products as we work with our bakers and allow them to show their talents,” Braniff said.
In addition to the standard coffee offerings, Elder + Oat will continue serving certain Craft favorites, such as the brown sugar oat latte. They’ll also provide new drinks, including kombucha tea.
The goal with the food is to produce sweet and savory breads and spreads while leaning on high-quality ingredients, local growers and seasonal flavors.
As with Craft’s menu, Elder + Oat will have gluten-free and vegan options. Instead of using canola oil, Braniff said they’ll likely use avocado, coconut or rice oils.
Elder + Oat will be open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.