If you think you smell an espresso-scented tipping point somewhere South of Broadway near the river, that's Crema, the coffee shop brewing in the burgeoning neighborhood of Rutledge Hill. Named for the foamy, golden brown extraction that develops in the filter and encrusts the top of an espresso serving, Crema (rhymes with “Emma”) is the latest food-forward (or beverage-forward, to be specific) establishment to hang up its shingle in the once-forgotten district of Rutledge Hill.
Owner Rachel Lehman, who spent the last four years managing Sam & Zoe's coffee shop in Berry Hill, isn't the first person to think Rutledge Hill can become an enclave for people who care about what they eat and drink. Andrew Chadwick, a former executive chef for Ritz-Carlton, recently debuted his showplace of a restaurant in a nearby historic residence. (Be warned, Andrew Chadwick's on Rutledge Hill, located at 37 Rutledge St., is so entre-nous, it doesn't even have a shingle.)
Lehman, a Chicagoland native who has spent a decade in the coffee industry, hopes the same kind of discerning people who seek out Andrew Chadwick's (i.e. people who “are anal about their coffee”) will discover Crema and its menu of traditional European coffee drinks made with locally roasted Drew Brews. Don't expect a phalanx of flavored liqueurs and giant over-sized coffee shakes. Lehman's focus is “latte art” and espressos served in traditional (read “small”) European sizes.
Crema will stock a selection of locally made pastries, sandwiches, quiches and to-go items. Located at 15 Hermitage Ave., 255-8311, Crema will be open 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.