Sunday, January 23, 2011

the corner bakery guy and i, a love story

ah. corner bakery. have you guys ever been here before? id never heard of it until i moved to chicago, but i quickly fell in love with it. it's so COZY (and, weird as this may be, i LOVE the font that they use for their restaurant title. have i shared my love/natural attraction to fonts? anyway. this would be a standard case in point). the food isnt like the most amazing thing EVER, but it's certainly delicious enough for a regular day's lunch out. i never tire of it, at least.

my initial discovery of this place was because of the lunches i would eat here. however, after a couple of months, i realized that, if im going to be drinking coffee in the morning, i might as well come HERE instead of starbucks since it is just that much darn cheaper (and tastier!). i highly recommend their hazelnut coffee. delicious, even to me, and i am not a huge fan of the actual taste of coffee (which is exactly why starbucks coffee makes me want to gag each and everytime i choke that stuff down). granted, who knows if it's the actual taste of the corner bakery hazelnut coffee that i am advertising here... or the two packets of splenda that are drowning out the taste of everything with the deliciousness that can only be fake sugar... or the heaping mounds of cinnamon that i dump on top of the coffee to, well, drown out the taste of everything else in that cup. but i digress.

i began frequenting corner bakery even MORE regularly after i discovered the beauty of their "buy six cups of coffee, get the seventh free" cards. it's amazing how quickly you accumulate free coffees if you go here every morning before work and are religious about getting your cards stamped and all. talk about the deal of all deals, really.

of course, becoming a "regular" at this place was only inevitable. i mean, this place is like right across the street from my work. and the DEALS to be had (especially compared to starbucks...)... im a sucker what can i say. who knew that it would only get BETTER from here. i mean, dont get me wrong, i was totally content enough with my "buy six, get the seventh free" deals. what can be better than that?

try... free coffee... every. single. day.

see, this is the beauty of being an openly friendly person, i guess. so there's this one corner bakery guy that is always working the counter when i come in (because i obvi come in around the same time every morning since i have a regular daily routine). anyway, when i first started coming in, he would charge me for the coffee and then stamp stamp stamp my glorified card with gusto (sigh. he's so adorable and friendly and. well. pitter patter goes the heart for adorable, friendly people. you know. the usual. haha).

but then one morning (no different than any other morning), i come in and he's just like "medium coffee, right?" because, duh, im a regular and my order is NOT difficult. so i confirm this and he hands me my cup for coffee and i have my wallet all out ready to pay away, and he's just like "nah, dont worry about it." sigh. i was a little affronted because, if you know me, im all about fairness and paying my way through life and all that. but whatever. i was just like "aww! thank you SO MUCH!" (because who DOESN'T love a friendly thank you, really). so i was all about ready to traipse off with my totally free cup of coffee when i realized... this was the corner bakery guy's lucky DAY. today was the day that i had just happened to have baked cupcakes for my coworkers. so what do i do? i'm just like, "oh wait a second! here, because you gave ME coffee, im going to give YOU some cupcakes. do you have a plate?" hahaha. and that's right. i totally gave this guy cupcakes in exchange for coffee. talk about the BARTER SYSTEM COMING RIGHT BACK INTO CAPITALIST AMERICA!

well. i thought it would end there. i mean, i may drink coffee like it's water, but at the end of the day, it's NOT water and does cost money. but no. ever since that fine day... i have NEVER had to pay for a cup of coffee! GOD, i feel special. hahaha. i mean, it was a gradual progression, let's be honest. it started out with me being genuinely surprised when corner bakery guy would say i didnt have to pay for my coffee the first few times... then, this progressed to me taking my wallet out, but definitely just more for formality's sake because i mean, who are we kidding here (but i didnt want to seem GREEDY hello)... to, well, the point im at now, where he just hands me a cup as im walking in and i dont even bother taking my wallet out. in fact, i would be slightly offended if i DID have to take my wallet out, thank you very much.

hmm. is that weird? illegal, maybe? who knows.

even just last week, i went to corner bakery for the first time this new year to buy a coffee cake for my friend and tacked on a coffee to the order. i knew he was going to charge me for the coffee cake (i mean, HELLO, even I'M not that special), so i figured he'd just tack on the coffee on top of it, since a bill was already being generated (and since i hadnt been there in SO LONG). but no... free coffee it was AGAIN! okay. maybe it had something to do with the fact that i greeted him with, "WOW, i havent been here in so LONG, how ARE YOU?" hahahah but whatever. midwestern charm and all that.

sigh. how i love going to corner bakery now. it's all very scientific, really. because if i walk into corner bakery and DON'T see him working, i immediately start reevaluating my order. i mean, should i splurge and get a specialty beverage that morning (since i already KNOW i will have to be paying for coffee since this whole under-the-table is limited to him working the counter) or just stick with paying for a cup of coffee and actually USING those buy six, get the seventh free cards that are still sitting in my purse (since, OBVI, i haven't been using them as of late since i cant have HIM stamp these cards if he's ALREADY straight up GIVING me coffee. )? anyway. at least it gets my mind churning that early in the morning.

man, i hope he's working tomorrow morning. i dont want him to think im taking him for GRANTED, heaven forbid. and since im toting some baked goods to the office ANYWAY, im totally going to barter it up with him (just like in that initial free offering of the coffee) so that he realizes that i truly do appreciate his totally illegal shenanigans and am certainly NOT taking it for granted (well, kind of).

anyway, dont think i dont give credit where it's totally due. i was TOTALLY going to take a picture of corner bakery guy and post it in my blog to actively advertise him to my blog audience and subsequently, give him the link to my blog (it's not my fault if i HAPPEN to grab another blog follower in this whole love story of a process), but i figured that he may not actually WANT to be advertised for totally doing something illegal on a regular basis. hence the discreetness of this entry (note how i dont mention his name NOR the corner bakery location which i frequent... ahhh always a THINKER, that i am. haha).

sigh. the corner bakery guy and i. a love story if ever i heard one. HA.


  1. @Christie - Thanks for that long and sweet comment! Girl, you have to try Billy's Bakery in Chelsea, it is amazing! But yes, the Banana Bread Pudding at Magnolia is to die for, I totally agree. Thanks for the recommendation, I will definitely try that blondie - but what kind? Be more specific please. :-)

  2. This is such a funny story. I was thinking about it, maybe you are disclosing this guy, but then you mention you don't mention which location of the corner bakery, smart! It's always great to save on that everyday coffee, it quickly adds up. :-)