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Woodstock café on track to open in August

Published: Sunday, July 28, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, July 29, 2013 9:18 a.m. CDT
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(Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com)
Stella's off the Square plans to open in August in the Woodstock Metra station. The new café with sell coffee, pastries, smoothies, tea and sandwich to the about 450 commuters who pass through the Metra station daily.
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(Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com)
Danielle Delatorre (left) meets with designer Eric Hoff of Woodstock while they discuss the layout of the new café, Stella's off the Square in the Woodstock Metra station Wednesday.
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(Sarah Nader - snader@shawmedia.com)
Interior space of Stella's off the Square in the Woodstock Metra station.
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(Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com)
Work continues for new café inside Woodstock Metra station.
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(Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com)
Danielle Delatorre stands in the new café in the Woodstock Metra station.

WOODSTOCK – A new café plans to open in Woodstock’s Metra station in August.

The station has been inaccessible to commuters since March, when the Trax Depot Coffee Shop closed. It should reopen next month when a Lake in the Hills company, Illini International Resources LLC, opens Stella’s off the Square.

The Woodstock City Council approved a three-year lease deal with the company on July 16. The lease, which sets rent at $500 a month, includes three, three-year renewal options, potentially allowing the contract to continue to July 2025.

“Our main concern was getting the building open for commuters and residents,” said Cort Carlson, Woodstock’s community and economic development director. “We had been actively seeking tenants.”

City officials shopped the vacant space around to nine area coffee shops and bakeries and gave tours to six prospective tenants. Illini International Resources, which most recently ran Java Planet on Route 14 in Woodstock, was the only one to submit a formal proposal to lease it, according to a city memo.

Danielle Delatorre, of Illini International Resources, said it was difficult to leave Java Planet, but the chance to create a new café from the ground up at the train depot was too good to pass up. Java Planet remains open.

About 450 commuters use the Woodstock Metra station daily, according to the city.

Delatorre wants to make Stella’s off the Square more than a “grab coffee and go” place. The café will serve staples such as coffee, tea and smoothies, but also pastries, baked goods, and breakfast sandwiches. It will include a full espresso bar and bulk coffee will be available for purchase.

Stella’s plans to sell scones from Goldie’s Scones in Lakemoor and offer baked goods from Konrad’s Bakery in Lake in the Hills, she said.

Delatorre is working with local artists from the Starline Gallery in Harvard to possibly display artwork and host art events at Stella’s on a monthly basis.

“We’re going to be the first thing people see when they arrive in Woodstock,” she said. “I’m really excited about this opportunity.”

Delatorre plans to begin work cleaning up the café space next week before installing equipment and decorating. She hopes to open for business in early to mid-August.

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