The coffee flowed, as did a few tears, as hundreds of people gathered to celebrate the opening of coffee bar Katie’s Cup in the city’s Midtown District Wednesday morning. A new business opening in the faltering economy is reason enough to celebrate. But the Katie’s Cup/Lantow Lofts project also represents the hope of a reinvigorated neighborhood.
The coffee flowed, as did a few tears, as hundreds of people gathered to celebrate the opening of coffee bar Katie’s Cup in the city’s Midtown District Wednesday morning.
A new business opening in the faltering economy is reason enough to celebrate. But the Katie’s Cup/Lantow Lofts project also represents the hope of a reinvigorated neighborhood.
Spearheaded by Zion Development Corp. and Rockford Area Lutheran Ministries, the project has been under construction for three years but in the works for nearly a decade. Located in the old Lantow Pharmacy building, the coffee bar is housed below urban-style lofts in the city’s once-bustling Seventh Street neighborhood.
Ernest and Mabel Lantow opened the pharmacy in 1929 and bought the building in the 1940s. They passed the business down to their son, Bruce Lantow, who sold the building in 1999.
“They’d be honored,” Lantow said of his parents. “There are great people at work behind this.”
The building takes advantage of a number of green technologies, including solar-heated water with thermal panels on the roof, tankless water heaters and a more efficient water-piping system. Officials said those features delayed construction a bit because they had to identify the correct products to use, and the plans took longer to approve.
Brad Roos, Zion’s executive director, said three of the seven units have been reserved, but four are still open. Prices range from about $135,000 to $151,000.
“This is truly blessed work,” Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey said. The city was one of the project’s partners, setting aside about $500,000 in tax increment financing funds.
Zion is already moving forward with its next project, which is helping to bring a charter school to the neighborhood, he said.
“Education is necessary for a healthy community, and we’re supportive of that relationship here,” Roos said.
Katie’s Cup will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. The coffee shop will start serving limited lunch items in a few weeks. Check out more at katiescup.com.
The restaurant’s presentation room, which can be used for business meetings, college classes and other gatherings, was named after Denver Bitner, who recently stepped down after serving as pastor of Zion Lutheran Church for more than three decades.
Melissa Westphal can be reached at (815) 987-1341 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the name
Katie’s Cup is named after Katharina von Bora Luther, the wife of Protestant reformer Martin Luther. Before it became a coffee shop, “Katie’s Cup” was a community discussion group that met regularly at Stockholm Inn.
Officials will celebrate Katie’s 510th birthday Thursday at the coffee shop, and visitors can snack on cake if they stop by.