Coffee, confection, connection
Downtown Elburn cafe has a new identity
by Paula Coughlan
ELBURNâ€”The Mad Hatter Cafeâ€™s grand opening on Sunday offered children a chance to decorate their own cupcakes, which drew many families to the event at Party Animals, 118 N. Main St., Elburn.
The Mad Hatter Cafe offers customers a place to sip an espresso and connect with WiFi service on their laptops at the colorfully painted tables in front of the shop, and it even provides deluxe coffee service to your car.
The cafe originally opened as part of the Party Animals themed party store in 2008, but many people did not realize it was there.
â€œPeople knew us for the parties and supplies we offered, but didnâ€™t realize that we also have a coffee cafe at the front of the store,â€ said Cindy Thul, shop owner. â€œSo weâ€™re giving the cafe its own identity.â€
Besides expresso, the newly named Mad Hatter Cafe offers several flavors of Italian coffee, fruit smoothies made with fresh ingredients, teas, muffins, cakes, biscotti and cupcakes. Customers with a sweet tooth also may enjoy Thulâ€™s homemade chocolates and fudge, or pick from the 1950s-style penny candies farther back in the store. In addition, Thul is adding donuts to the menu. All of her desserts are made fresh, using recipes passed down from her grandmother and great-grandmother.
Realizing that many people want coffee and dessert on their way to work or the Elburn Metra station, Thul will take orders out to customersâ€™ cars if they call ahead. Besides on-street parking, there is a large lot behind the store where patrons can enter through the cafeâ€™s back door, or pull up in their cars to pick up their orders.
Also in the Mad Hatter Cafe are coffee cups to purchase along with tea pots and other serving dishes. Patrons may buy placemats for restless children to color. While there, families can browse through Party Animalâ€™s large selection of merchandiseâ€”dolls and accessories, puppets, games, puzzles, pinatas, stuffed animals and helium balloons.
Party Animals offers 19 different themed parties in a colorfully decorated room with a velvet-lined throne for the person of honor.
Mad Hatter Cafe
inside Party Animals
118 N. Main St., Elburn
Parking available on Main Street or
in the lot in back of the cafÃ©.
(call ahead for car deliveries)
Tuesday-Friday 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.;
Saturday 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.;
Sunday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.;
photo by Ben Draper