The long-awaited opening of Bagel on Damen shimmers into view with the announcement (Per TOC) of its January 2 opening date, but suddenly and massively overshadowing that is the simultaneous announcement that they will be serving Stumptown Coffee — news that we're guessing has the folks at Intelligentsia breaking out in a (chill, laid-back) sweat.
Bagel on Damen will be the first Chicago outpost to serve the cult brew, sourced from South America and roasted in Portland, Oregon and Red Hook, Brooklyn, a cup of which can be so balanced and flavorful that a friend of Grub Street who previously had adulterated her morning joe with three sugars and actual heavy cream went straight black when she switched to Stumptown. We have partaken of many mugs of Stumptown in our day, and readily admit it's among the best few cups coffee we've had.
On the other hand, Duane Sorenson, the guy behind the brand, can be kind of pompous. ("I’m not saying it to be arrogant,” he told New York, about his beans being the best there are. “I’m saying it because it’s a true fucking story.”) There's also the fact that — at least in New York, the love affair with Stumptown peaked months ago, there was backlash, and then there was the backlash to the backlash. But whatever — we get Stumptown and Beard Papa all in the same day? Call us happy campers.