Sovereign Grounds remodel takes over 48th & Chicago corner

Counter jar raised thousands for new toys

Sovereign Grounds owner Hakan Sezer worked around the clock to keep the shop open during renovations. Credit: Michelle Bruch

Hakan Sezer initially wanted to build a grocer in the former Dick’s Metro Carpet space at 809 E. 48th St., but he said it wasn’t meant to be.

With slim margins, no grocery experience and a new co-op coming to 38th & Clinton, the idea became too big a hassle, he said. Instead, Sezer and his wife decided to expand Sovereign Grounds, roughly doubling the coffee shop’s size.

A donation box on the counter has yielded $4,000 in donations to buy toys for the new playroom, including a wooden play house, train table, caterpillar tunnel and mini-kitchen.

“Hopefully the moms love it,” Sezer said. “You can tell it from their eyes.”

Sezer and his wife kept the shop open and worked around the clock Christmas thru New Year’s to complete the renovation, pulling overnighters to paint the walls. They’re considering adding a fireplace, and they would like to renovate an additional community room designed for parents with infants.

Sezer said his customers were fighting over the new armchairs, and all the kids wanted to know what happened to Scooter, the shop’s turtle. (Scooter was temporarily staying at a customer’s house.)

“We’re very happy,” Sezer said.