Tony Dreyfuss

About

In the nearly six and a half years it took Tony Dreyfuss ’97 to graduate with a philosophy degree, he’d held just about every possible odd job in Madison: delivering Big Mike’s Super Subs and Rozino’s pizzas, selling Fudgesicles from an ice-cream truck on campus, driving a Badger cab. In between — and sometimes during — his shifts, he sat in Steep & Brew on State Street nursing a cup of coffee. “I loved the culture,” he says. “There were all shades of people there.”   He got a job at a Peet’s Coffee as a floor sweeper, and almost immediately found himself obsessed with high-quality joe. Dreyfuss worked his way up to trainer and shift leader before joining the management team. Meanwhile, his father, an Indonesian-language professor at the University of Washington, was similarly smitten with coffee after befriending the master roaster at Seattle’s acclaimed Café Vita.   Dreyfuss’s philosophy background prepared him to deliberate ideas slowly, but impulse took over when he and his father attended the mecca of all things java, Seattle’s Coffee Fest, in 2001. With little hesitation, they bought a $40,000 roaster. And not owning a coffee shop where they could put it did not deter them; they decided to build one. After months of scouting locations, Dreyfuss — who had by then moved to Chicago — settled on a spot near Loyola University Chicago’s Lake Shore campus in the diverse Edgewater neighborhood.
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