Mystery Diner in Algonquin: Daily Projects Coffee Bar brews up tasty dishes

Inventive beverages abound along with good meal options

The intersection of Randall and Algonquin roads is a busy one, so it would be easy to miss Daily Projects Coffee Bar in Algonquin.

Located in one of the buildings in front of Butera Market next to the gas station, Daily Projects Coffee Bar is expansive in size.

To the left of the cashier is traditional coffee shop seating, with high tops and bar seating along the window. Tucked around the corner is living room furniture, including a couch, two chairs and coffee table.

The area to the right is more like a restaurant with a few more high tops plus small tables and a booth. A long communal table sits in the middle.

As you may guess from its name, Daily Projects Coffee Bar has plenty of coffee – espressos, pour-overs, iced coffee, macchiatos and specialty lattes with flavors like honey and cinnamon, lavender and Madagascar vanilla. They also create seasonal coffee specials.

But that’s not where the drink menu ends, and since we were there for lunch, we grabbed two non-coffee options.

I ordered the hibiscus shaker ($4.25), a mix of hibiscus, lavender and coconut milk. It was unsurprisingly floral tasting, nice and light, but the coconut milk gave it a fuller mouthfeel.

My fellow diner chose the blueberry lemonade ($4.25). Some coffee shops’ drinks can come across as very sugary, but this wasn’t the case for either of our selections.

In addition to the lemonades and shakers, Daily Projects offers smoothies, including, for example, one called alpha kale, which also comes with pineapple, green apple, green grapes and orange juice, and another dubbed PB chai nana, which features peanut butter, banana, vanilla, cinnamon, oats and almond milk.

If you come for the coffee, though, stay for the food.

I selected the ham and brie sandwich ($8.99), which includes apple slices and is served on a brioche bun. The apple was so finely sliced it didn’t overpower the ham, and ensured the sandwich was easy to eat. The star, though, was the bread.

My fellow diner ordered the chicken pesto sandwich, prepared with provolone, garlic, pickle, green pepper, onion and tomato on French bread.

He was worried the French bread would be too crusty, making it difficult to eat, but it was soft, and worked well with the fillings. He was surprised by the combination of veggies and how good they tasted together.

Our littlest diner had the grilled cheese, which comes with melted provolone, Swiss, sauteed caramelized onions and mayonnaise on sourdough.

I had weighed whether to ask for no onions since our littlest diner is somewhat picky, but I’m glad I didn’t. He gobbled it up.

I also sampled a bit: It was a good selection of cheeses, and the grilled onions gave it depth without being too forward.

If you’re out on yet another trip to Home Depot or the grocery store, don’t feel like you need to rush home to grab a meal: Daily Projects Coffee Bar is a great respite from the hustle and bustle of Randall Road.

• The Mystery Diner is an employee at the Northwest Herald. The diner’s identity is not revealed to the restaurant staff before or during the meal. If the Mystery Diner cannot recommend the establishment, we will not publish a story.


WHAT: Daily Projects Coffee Bar

WHERE: 124 S. Randall Road, Algonquin

PHONE: 224-209-8636