Former Café 28 Owner Planning Full Distillery, Rum Line

Although Café 28 closed in Northcenter, its owner is moving on to bigger, better and more unique work in his new local business venture.

Café 28 may have closed in February, but its former owner already has his sights on a new family business venture: a local distillery and craft spirits line.

Rick Miranda, 48, and his 22-year-old son have started Shakespeare & Troy Craft Spirits. And with help from Ravenswood’s Koval Distillery, they’ve already started producing Raven’s Cane Rum.

Now the duo is shopping around for a location to open their own distillery, something Miranda says he’s wanted to do even before Café 28 shut its doors.

“I’ve been in the restaurant business for 17 years, and we just closed Café 28,” Miranda said. “We were struggling, and while I didn’t want to put that whole scenario into this new project, I still wanted to do something in conjunction with (my experience in the restaurant industry).”

Miranda says his mother is still working with others to hopefully re-open the restaurant, but he and his son are working hard to make Shakespeare & Troy a success. They started taking the serious steps toward making the business a reality in Thanksgiving, he said, when they start taking distillery classes and acquiring government approval.

Now, months later, Raven’s Cane Rum is a reality, a brand named after the family’s love of the Ravenswood area. Soon, residents will be able to buy the local spirits through a unique arraignment with Koval.

“When it comes to the craft spirits industry, there’s a licensing process that can take up to 8 months to make it legal in the federal, state and local levels,” Miranda said. “They key thing is we have a unique scenario: we’re going to sell it via Koval before we have our own distillery.”

And that may come sooner rather than later. Miranda said he and his son are shopping around for locations to open up shop in the area. He hopes that in eight months the two will have a space where they can make the spirits, sell items and have a storefront like Half Acre Beer Company’s space.

The business will be both his and his son’s; a blending of two generations that Miranda thinks will blend nicely to make the business a success. That, and he’s been a part of the family business atmosphere his entire life.

“My father’s from Cuba, and my mother’s from Mexico,” he said. “They had a grocery store from almost 20 years. I’ve been in the restaurant business with my mom for 17 years, so naturally, I thought I’d invite my son into that. It’s part of the DNA of what we do.”

Even the name of the business is a representation of the father-son duo and their love of Chicago.

“My son and I are both born Chicagoans,” Miranda said. “My first home was on Troy in Logan Square, so we used that, and my son’s first home was at Damen and Shakespeare. We used that to say who we are and what we do.”

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