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‘Espresso Yourself’ at nearby cafe

Espresso Yourself offers a variety of handmade baked goods, lunch items and beverages made daily at its 1212 W. Bradley Ave. location.
photos by Kylee Higgins

At the edge of Bradley’s campus sits a newly-established cafe filled with colorful furniture and the aroma of coffee.

Espresso Yourself is the newest of several Peoria cafes, but owner Abdul Qattoum says Espresso Yourself is different in that the food and drinks sold are all made from scratch.

“We like to make sure that we have the right quantity, the right amount, for everything,” Qattoum said.

The 28-year-old entrepreneur studied biology at Illinois State University and said he has always been interested in health. Because of that, Qattoum said he wants Espresso Yourself to give Bradley students and members of the Peoria community the option to maintain a healthier diet.

“A lot of people don’t like to eat food everyday, like McDonald’s and Burger King [or] stuff like that,” Qattoum said. “People are into more healthier foods, so we try to make all our foods more healthy.”

Though the cafe just had its grand opening April 14, Qattoum said he has big goals, including expanding the space and the menu.

“I want to try to get [Espresso Yourself] on its feet,” Qattoum said. “Then, [I want to] talk about opening a [cafe in a] bigger location with a lot more room.”

Qattoum said he has traveled to many different countries and has enjoyed the foods from those cultures. He said traveling the world has given him ideas for what he wants the future of Espresso Yourself to look like.

“There’s a lot of [foods other cultures make], and there’s nothing over here like that,” Qattoum said. “I was thinking about bringing something from there, from overseas, and bring it here.”

Qattoum said he and his employees have already dedicated time to making authentic food and drinks from other cultures.

“Chai tea is very very popular in India, and a lot of Indians love it,” Qattoum said. “When we studied [making chai tea], it took us six months to actually find the exact recipe.”

Qattoum said he will be looking for ways to improve Espresso Yourself and wants to include customers in the process.

“Our goal is not just in our coffee,” Qattoum said. “It’s about everything. It’s about customer service. If there’s anything that people might suggest for us [or] if there’s anything that we can always add to our menu.”

Espresso Yourself is located at 1212 W Bradley Ave. and is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and is closed Sunday.

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