Matchacita, located at 705 W. Belden Ave., opened inside of Squeez Juice bar just three weeks ago and is already bustling with college students. Matchacita is its own entity, but is “partnered up” with Squeez Juice Bar, according to part-owner Rosie Hatzilabo.
“We decided to utilize this spot, and still have the juices and everything like that, but also bring Matchacita into the mix,” Hatzilabo said.
As the name suggests, matcha is the star ingredient in most of their drinks and food items. “Pretty much everything is matcha based,” Hatzilabo said.
Between two trips, I tried both the traditional Matchacita Latte and the Purple Haze Latte, the latter of which at the recommendation of Hatzilabo.
“My personal favorite is the Purple Haze Latte, which is definitely super popular,” Hatzilabo said.
The Matchacita Latte naturally had a more matcha-heavy flavor but is offset nicely by the almond milk. The Purple Haze Latte was more flavorfully complex, and I can see why it’s a customer favorite. The lavender flavor really shines through here. Even though I got mine iced, the lavender and oat milk add a warmth which contrasts to the light, natural flavor of the matcha.
Matcha as an ingredient has been having a moment in the past couple of years. This trendy tea originated in Japan but has since crossed the Pacific and taken hold of the health-conscious crowd, Gen Z and millennials alike.
If you’re Instagram savvy and are looking for a good place to take foodie pics, Matchacita is the place. Matcha’s natural bright green color makes it ideal for enviable Instagram posts or stories. Every item off the menu looks like it comes from an L.A. food blog.
The décor in Matchacita tells you exactly what the restaurant wants to portray — not only are they health-conscious, but they’re also Instagram-friendly. One wall has tropical print wallpaper, which is the perfect contrast to your colorful latte. Or you could show it off on the white marble bar, backdropped against a pink neon sign reading “Squeez the Day” surrounded by fake ivy and draped by long pink flowers.
If matcha isn’t your cup of tea, they also offer a variety of smoothies, coffees, waffles (traditional or matcha flavor) and, yes, avocado toast.
Between my two trips, I got both the Strawberry Nutella Toast and the Tropical Hydration Smoothie. The toast came on multigrain bread, smothered by a heavy hand with Nutella. The amount of Nutella in proportion to the strawberries was perfect and the cacao nibs sprinkled on top added just the right amount of bite. The Tropical Hydration Smoothie was delicious, but it’s your run-of-the-mill smoothie. You can’t really go wrong.
Every guest I saw there was wearing Lululemon leggings or looked straight off the Urban Outfitters website. Most customers seemed under 30. It’s definitely serving a particular crowd, but that’s not a bad thing. I’m sure they knew what they were doing when they chose a store across the street from DePaul and in a neighborhood generally filled with affluent young adults.
The staff members, also of a younger crowd, were all very polite and knowledgeable about the items on their menu.
The space is small, which can make social distancing a challenge. However, they’re happy to run your order out to you if you’d prefer to wait outside. They also deliver within a five-mile radius.
Matchacita offers a smorgasbord of different kinds of milk and dairy substitutes. You can also add toppings like Lucky Charms or edible glitter to your drinks, further contributing to your inevitable Instagram post. It was seriously hard to resist.
Sold separately from the main menu are cold-pressed juices, juice cleanses, a smattering of baked goods and items like chocolate bars with THC. If you’d like, you can add CBD to your drink for an extra $2.00.
Prices are par for the course for Lincoln Park (translation: expensive). But they are using all-natural ingredients, so if that’s important to you, or you just want to treat yourself, don’t hesitate to stop by.