Another “first” is coming to Pullman/Roseland – along with Chicago’s first national monument, first Amazon distribution center, and first union-built, green-roof Walmart. This time it’s Veteran Roasters’ combination micro-brewery, coffee roaster, restaurant, and café. 9th Ward Alderman Anthony A. Beale announced that with already a $2 million Neighborhood Opportunity grant and pending approval from the Plan Commission, the nation’s first Veterans’ Roasters cafe, commercial roaster, brewpub, and restaurant is expected to break ground in the spring of 2023.
Veterans’ Roaster is the latest innovative enterprise from Mark Doyle, who spent a year embedded with an anti-corruption task force in Afghanistan, known for creating businesses that make a priority of hiring and supporting U.S. military veterans. The Chicago-based Veteran Roasters is teaming with Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives (CNI) to construct the new, two-story, 16,000 square foot, stand-alone building on vacant land, just west of 111th Street and Doty Avenue. It will feature a commercial coffee roaster, micro-brewery, restaurant, and café with seating for approximately 75 to 100 people, plus drive-thru service. In addition to offering a new dining option and community amenity, Veteran Roasters will create 55 to 65 new jobs for local military veterans, according to Mark Doyle, project partner and founder and CEO of Rags of Honor.
Doyle says, ”Over the last several years I’ve been drawn to Pullman/Roseland area by the unparalleled and successful efforts of its leadership – from its developers like CNI, to Alderman Beale, to the engaged community groups and residents — who fought together for decades for the National Monument, attracting new businesses that have created thousands of jobs, and many other amenities essential to the area’s renewal.”
“All this in a community that many said would never recover from the exodus of steel,” said Alderman Beale. “But like veterans – Pullman/Roseland has beaten the odds and is continuing to move forward. Thanks to the innovative spirit of its developers, neighborhood leaders and residents, all working together we’ve created new opportunities that has spurred the community’s renewal and today has catalyzed the development of the nation’s first new Veteran Roasters.”
“The widespread media coverage of all the good things happening in Pullman/Roseland prompted us to look closely at the neighborhood. And what we discovered was a great place for our employees in which to live and to work which is what ultimately cinched our decision to open a new business in Pullman,” Doyle added.
News of Veteran Roasters coming to Pullman comes approximately a month after plans were shared for building the areas’ first nationally branded hotel on another vacant site, adjacent to the National Monument’s new Visitor Center and 12-acre State Historic site, and a Culver’s location which when it opened in Nov. 2021, became the community’s first new stand-alone restaurant in more than 30 years.
“Finding employment and secure housing can be challenging for veterans, especially recovering from the demands of service, but we discovered Pullman which offers access to the housing and wraparound support that can ensure a healthy transition to civilian life,” said Doyle. Veteran Roaster employees currently include veterans representing the Marine Corps, Navy, Army, and National Guard.
“We are excited and proud that we will be fostering a community of veterans who share our passion and commitment to building a better future,” said Alderman Beale. “For years the community had to convince a restauranteur to come to the Pullman/Roseland area, but now we not only have an exciting new destination making it easier to attract more people to the area, but we will soon have coffee being produced and distributed from Pullman to restaurants and stores in markets all across North America which will help continue to fuel the community’s growth and success.”
“CNI has worked with Alderman Beale, U.S. Bank, and other community partners for years to create the conditions that instilled the market with the confidence that is bringing Veteran Roasters just west of the corner of Doty and 111th,” said David Doig, CNI President. “The latest good news for our community and the city demonstrates our strategy of creating retail and industrial jobs, building and renovating housing, recreation, and educational opportunities is working.”
Pullman/Roseland is the site of many innovations over the past decade: the first Method plant in the U.S., the first Whole Foods Distribution Center in Illinois, the first Gotham Greens greenhouse outside of New York and the largest commercial green-roof in the world; the Pullman Community Center, the region’s largest year-round, indoor sports and education facility; the city’s only National Park site; the site of two new sit-down restaurants in the past year; more than $400 million has been invested in Pullman over the last decade that has created nearly 2,000 jobs.