Home News Bakery, pharmacy combine in a budding business in South Evanston

Bakery, pharmacy combine in a budding business in South Evanston

by Celia

A forthcoming establishment in South Evanston is set to offer patrons the unique experience of purchasing coffee, croissants, and cannabis, all conveniently under one roof.

Scheduled to open in mid-February at the intersection of Chicago Avenue and Howard Street, a bakery connected to Evanston’s second dispensary will emerge as a collaborative effort between OKAY Cannabis and West Town Bakery.

To access either the cannabis products or the traditional baked goods, customers must enter the bakery from the street. A distinguishing neon green sign positioned above a doorway adjacent to the bakery’s counter directs cannabis-seeking patrons to the dispensary, which is exclusively accessible through the bakery.

Ameya Pawar, a former Chicago City Council member turned entrepreneur and co-founder of OKAY Cannabis, expressed the versatility of the establishment, stating, “You can come here for a cup of coffee in the morning and get a pastry. You don’t ever have to go to the dispensary, but you can if you want to.”

Pending final inspections from the state, the bakery-dispensary anticipates hosting a grand opening on Feb. 15, as outlined by John Aldape, the director of concept development for The Fifty/50 Restaurant Group, which owns both OKAY Cannabis and West Town Bakery.

Operating from 7 a.m. into the evening, the bakery aims to accommodate commuters utilizing the Chicago Transit Authority’s Howard Station, offering an array of pastries, local coffee, and West Town Bakery’s renowned “cakeballs.”

On the opposite side of a vibrant green partition, the dispensary will showcase a selection of cannabis products primarily obtained from local craft cultivators. Prior to entry, customers are required to undergo ID verification and inclusion in a visitor log, adhering to state regulations.

Last year, West Town Bakery and OKAY Cannabis launched a similar venture in Wheeling, Illinois. Despite misconceptions, Aldape clarified, “This is a family-friendly bakery,” emphasizing that their baked goods are not infused with THC.

The significance of Evanston’s second dispensary extends beyond its commercial aspect, with the city’s 3% tax on cannabis products contributing to its reparations program, which aids eligible Black Evanston residents. Initially, the tax solely funded payments to qualifying residents through the Restorative Housing Program. However, due to lower-than-anticipated revenues from Evanston’s sole dispensary, funds from the real estate transfer tax were allocated to the program.

Having completed $25,000 payments to eligible recipients in the “ancestor” category, the city now extends the same sum to direct descendants of said ancestors.

Ald. Devon Reid (8th), whose ward encompasses the new bakery-dispensary and who sits on the Reparations Committee, hailed the opening of a second dispensary as a significant development, foreseeing increased annual reparations distribution.

Pawar underscored the reparations program as a driving factor behind the business’s decision to establish itself in Evanston. Additionally, OKAY Cannabis, being majority minority-owned, obtained a social equity dispensary license from the state.

Aldape expressed aspirations for the establishment to become a fixture in South Evanston, affirming, “Every community that we’re in, we’re excited to be here. We want to be a fixture in this neighborhood.”

Related Articles


Welcome to our delightful Bread and Donuts Portal, where freshly baked goodness meets sweet indulgence! Explore a world of artisanal bread, from rustic loaves to fluffy rolls. Indulge your sweet tooth with our heavenly donuts, each bite a blissful symphony of flavors. Savor the magic of doughy perfection in every creation. Join us on a journey where the aroma of freshly baked treats beckons and the taste of quality is paramount.

Copyright © 2023 latestsilverprice.com