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Misericordia Has High Hopes For Hearts And Flour Bakery, Especially With Peterson-Ridge Metra Station Coming

CHICAGO (CBS) -- It's a tough time for anyone to start a business, but the people behind a new West Ridge coffee shop feel confident.

As CBS 2's Marie Saavedra reported Tuesday night, they are targeting the thousands of who drive by their building every day. They hope you'll stop and buy something from their staff, for whom having a job means the world.

A simple ball of dough will show you how seriously the bakers of Misericordia: Heart of Mercy take their craft. In the last five years, the community cooked up a plan to take their business beyond campus in a new way.

"We don't want our kids tucked into Misericordia," said the Rev. Jack Clair, Executive Director of Misericordia. "We want them out with people and greeting people."

And they soon will be, at the new Hearts and Flour Bakery and Café where Ridge Avenue turns into Ravenswood Avenue.

"We're anxious to get the residents out here and doing jobs, so it's terrific," Father Clair said.

Father Clair gave us a sneak peek ahead of the late February or early March opening, when these counters will be filled with baked goods, the coffee will be hot, and at least a dozen jobs will be staffed by residents of Misericordia, a longstanding home providing care and services for people with developmental disabilities.

"This is their number one wish is to come and work here, so we will try and fit as many people here as we can," said baker Beth WoytEk.

That goes for customers too, on this busy section of Ridge Avenue.

"When we had studies done of the property, what we found out was between 25,000 and 30,000 cars pass a day," said Father Clair.

That alone is a huge customer base, but the bakery will soon have one more. It's a brand-new Metra stop going in barely a block away.

The Peterson-Ridge station on the UP-North Line will be located at Peterson and Ravenswood avenues. Metra spokesman Michael Gillis noted that the Ravenswood station to the south at Ravenswood and Lawrence avenues is the busiest station on the line outside of downtown, while the Rogers Park station at Ravenswood and Lunt avenues just to the north is the fifth busiest station.

Thus, Gillis explained, a stop at Peterson-Ridge will help ease those crowds and hopefully add more riders in 2023.

"So we just knew there was a core group of people there interested in riding," Gillis said. "it was an unmet need right between those stations, so it made a lot of sense to build the station there."

Misericordia considers it divine timing, as those commuters will surely need coffee.

"We took the leap of faith, and here we are, and the train station's actually going up - so it's exciting!" said Father Clair.

So they'll feed the hearts of the neighborhood while employing the minds of the hard working Misericordia residents - who put pride in every product.

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