The coffee shop has become a center for community activity, generosity

DAVID TAFFET | Senior Staff Writer

Union Coffee on Cedar Springs Road is holding its third neighborhood market on Saturday, Sept. 18, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on the lawn outside its building.

Two successful previous markets were held pre-pandemic, and store manager Scott Bryan said he is glad to welcome the event back.

Held on the lawn outside the coffee shop, the market features local artists and artisans who display their goods as well as local independent businesses. Several spots are still available, Bryan said, and anyone interested in participating should contact the shop by Friday evening.

“Come in, have some coffee,” Bryan said, and then wander around the lawn and meet people from the neighborhood displaying their wares.

Union Coffee opened in 2012 and moved to Cedar Springs Road a few years later as a ministry of Oak Lawn United Methodist Church. Its goal was to learn from people in the neighborhood as well as bring worship to people who may not be comfortable entering a church. While very progressive, non-traditional religious services are offered on Sunday evening at 7 p.m. and Tuesday night at 8 p.m., they’re never imposed on anyone who has just come by for a cup of coffee or any variety of snack that’s on the menu.

Doing good things for the neighborhood is also always on the menu at Union Coffee. The Ronald McDonald House, located in Oak Lawn near Parkland Hospital, is this month’s beneficiary. Another month, Bryan said they held a book drive for an area literacy program.

“And we’re always involved in LGBTQ advocacy,” he said.

Each month a portion of sales from Union Coffee is donated to Oak Lawn UMC’s homeless outreach program.

Three rooms above the coffee shop are available for members of the community and community groups to reserve. Two are conference rooms, and one is a larger space that can fit about 20 comfortably with social distancing. The rooms have been used for everything from a baby shower to a corporate retreat.

Bryan said you can also reserve the lawn for an event. And with more and more development going on in Oak Lawn, the more rare such open lawn space is becoming in the area. The lawn has been used for everything from neighborhood markets to theater productions. In June, Theater 3 performed The Music Man on the lawn for a two-week stint.

Also a rarity in Oak Lawn is availability of parking. In addition to street parking, use Oak Lawn UMC’s parking when visiting Union Coffee.

Union Coffee is located at 3705 Cedar Springs Road next door to Oak Lawn United Methodist Church.