Uptown Cafe:
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Q: Where is the Uptown Cafe located?

A: The Uptown Cafe is located at 909 W. Wilson Ave., in Chicago. 

Q: Is there parking available?

A: Free parking is available near the Uptown Cafe. See the parking map for more details:

Q: What time should I arrive?

A: Volunteers should allow extra time before their shifts for travel, weather conditions, and parking. Weekday volunteers please arrive at EZRA and sign in at the front desk by 5:30 pm. Sunday or holiday volunteers, please arrive no later than 10:30 am to sign in. If you arrive later than 15 minutes after the start of your shift the Cafe staff may not be able to accommodate you.

Q: What should I wear?

A: Please dress comfortably, and plan on standing for several hours. T-shirts with sleeves, jeans or loose-fitting pants and sneakers are best.

Q: Is it ok to bring a child younger than 12 to the Cafe, even if they’re not volunteering?

A: No: for potential safety issues involved with food service, our age limit is strictly 12 years and older. Please do not bring anyone with you who is not already scheduled to volunteer during your shift—this includes anyone who is not intending to volunteer, such a younger children, etc.

Q: May I bring a guest who's not on the schedule?

A: No, we ask that you please contact our Volunteer Coordinator, in advance, if you wish to bring a guest, so that she can confirm availability and notify the Cafe ahead of time.  Call (312) 444-2848.

Q: When can I sign up for a meal service at the Uptown Cafe?

A: Any time during normal business hours: M-TH 8:30am-5pm. F 8:30am-4pm. Please take a moment to fill out a JUF Uptown Cafe Volunteer Interest form, specifying your preferred day and time, and we will confirm availability and assist with registration.

Q: How often may I volunteer?

A: Individuals may volunteer once a month. Groups may reserve 1 date per month, and 1 Sunday per calendar year.

Q: Something came up and I can no longer volunteer for the full two-hour meal service.  Can I still come?

A: No: Because the Cafe serves a restaurant-style meal with a limited team, it disrupts the flow of the meal service to stop and unlock the volunteer closet before the end of the service. It also doubles up the workload for other volunteers. We therefore kindly ask that volunteers be prepared for and committed to the full two-hour meal service. Please please call the TOV Hotline at 312-357-4762 or email TOV@juf.org if your plans have changed and you can no longer serve.

Q: Should I bring a donation with me?

A: EZRA's food pantry and hygiene closet are always looking for donations. If you have any items you wish to donate, please refer to the linked food pantry and hygiene closet Amazon wish-lists for suggested donations. At this time we are making a special request for kosher baby food, to be served at the Cafe.

Q: How else can I help the Cafe/EZRA?

A: The Greater Chicago Food Depository has a volunteer program, whereby you can donate your time served at their facility towards a participating food pantry. EZRA is a GCFD beneficiary. Please see the linked flyer for more details.

EZRA also participates in Family Tree Resale Shop's voucher program, where gift cards will be given to EZRA/Uptown Cafe clients if you donate clothing and other gently used items to the store, in EZRA's name. Family Tree Resale Shop is located at 5066 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60625. Tel: (312) 918-9260.

Q: My child is seeking a bar/bat mitzvah service project involving hunger/homelessness, and needs to volunteer more than once a month. What should I do?

A: Please complete the Concierge request form with more details of the kind of project you have in mind and a TOV specialist will contact you with suggested volunteer opportunities.

Q: What if I’m running more than 15 minutes late? Who do I contact?

A: Please contact the Uptown Cafe’s front desk: the number is (773) 275-0866, to notify the Cafe.

Q: What if I need to cancel my service? Who should I contact?

A: All cancellations prior to your day of service should go to TOV, via our hotline (312) 357-4762, or email tov@juf.org. Please include: your full name, volunteer date and anyone else you are cancelling for. Please be sure to specify these details in your voicemail or in your email.

Day of cancellations after normal business hours: please contact the Cafe directly: (773) 275-0866.