Though this Rogers Park coffee gem crouches under low ceilings, a sufficient lot of track lighting and even more sunlight to light your way through the Sunday Times
. Black and checkered floors are dotted with a scattering of fertile plants and mismatched wooden chairs. Take a break from your reading and peruse the rotating exhibit of local artists' work and literature lining the walls. Besides your average assortment of novels, from Stephen King to Chang-Rae Lee, Ennui houses a collection of National Geographic archives from the seventies and eighties, Britannica "Books of the year" featuring events from the forties and random coffee table books slid aside jeering gargoyles.
The menu of sweets and savories is worth a trip itself. Your standard coffeeshop fare of Naked smoothies and fruity, nutty muffins (of which Ennui carries both) pales in comparison to cups of tiramisu, a spilling platter of fruit salad, turkey paninis, vegetarian and chicken pies, malts, shakes, Italian sodas, grilled cheese, curry and gazpacho.
If the ceiling fans and cool afforded by the bamboo shades doesn't suffice, step outside to the sidewalk seating area, surrounded by white fences and potted flowers, where you can grab a table and plastic lawn chairs under an umbrella. Should you happen across Ennui in August, the coffee shop will delight you with a festival of local jazz artists; otherwise stop by on a Sunday for the regular live performance.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Jessica Herman