Meet Berwyn’s Entrepreneurs: Lissette Tenorio of 1890 Cafe

Name: Lissette Tenorio

Hometown: Chicago – Logan Square

Current Residence: Berwyn

All About Lissette: My name is Lissette and I am the eldest of two, the cool aunt and a dog mom. I was born and raised in Logan Square, Chicago where I was blessed to have an amazing childhood. As a family, one of the things we enjoyed doing was going on road trips. We’ve traveled to many places in the US, Canada and Mexico, and I was always in the passenger seat helping my dad with the map. Yes, I said map! Aside from traveling, my siblings and I spent a lot of time with the kids on our block. It was a very close community where families knew each other. Summer days were the best – a lot of soccer, running around, water balloon fights, going to our favorite ice shop everyday – kids making summer memories from morning to close!

The Business Side: As a kid I had an artistic mind and would always say I wanted to be an artist growing up. I loved drawing and painting! However, as I got older, I became more of a numbers person. I started working very young, but my career in the financial world took off when I started college. I went to a community college for my associate’s degree and during that time I worked as a Teller at TCF Bank. A couple years later, I transferred to DePaul University and ended up transitioning over to Robert Morris University and finished my bachelor’s degree there. By then, I was working at Northern Trust where I made several moves within the company, elevating my career each time.

Although I was on a good career path, I was not fully satisfied with where I really wanted to be. In the back of my head, I had one of many dreams I wanted to work on and make a reality – and that was having my own coffee shop, a dream that started when I was in college. But I’ll back up a little. My love for coffee began when I was a kid. My father would wake up really early on Saturdays and he’d go to the kitchen, brew some coffee, go to the living room and turn on the news. My room was next to the kitchen so hearing my dad being (unintentionally) loud in the kitchen would wake me up, but the smell of the coffee brewing is what made me get out of bed and go to my dad in the living room. He would then go to the kitchen and bring me pan dulce, put Looney Tunes on and let me dunk my pan dulce in his coffee. This was our Saturday routine: coffee, pan dulce and Looney Tunes! My interest in coffee evolved as I got older; I loved it so much that opening a coffee shop became a goal. Years later, I decided to go back to school and get my MBA, figuring this would give me the guidance I needed to open my coffee shop.

A couple years after graduating, I saw an opportunity in Berwyn at the Harlem Metra station where I would take the train to work. I inquired about the location and took a leap of faith to use this opportunity to make my long-dream coffee shop a reality. I still can’t believe that soon we will be hitting our 1-year anniversary! I don’t plan on stopping there. My financial career is still growing; I recently started a new job at a great company with amazing leadership. Opening the coffee shop is just the beginning. There are many more dreams I plan to fulfill along with continuing to grow my financial career.

Describe yourself in 3 words.

I did something different here; instead of describing myself I asked others to describe me and here are the results:

Family: Natural Leader. My family says I have a strong sense of responsibility and am quick to take action. I’m always working hard to not only accomplish my visions, but to thrive in them. I provide great guidance and establish a clear vision for direction.

Friends: Reliable. My friends say they can always count on me and trust I will get things done. I’m a great listener, I give great advice, and am a great supporter when needed.

1890 Girls: Determined. My 1890 girls say I continue to move forward through bad and good. I keep focused and do not let others affect my efforts. I believe anything is possible if you make it happen.

What inspires you?

I find inspiration in passionate people. They are contagious; when I am around them my brain wheels start turning. They devote their lives to their dreams and surround themselves with their work – and I can 100% relate to that.

Tell us something people might not know about you.

Something that people might not know about me is my fridge is covered with brewery stickers. I have a sticker from every brewery I’ve visited locally and other states. Every time I travel, I must check out a local brewery, have a couple beers and get a sticker to add to my collection.

Why Berwyn?

Location is one of the key factors when opening a business. I chose this location due to the great potential for a successful coffee shop. Aside from that, the community in Berwyn is fantastic! I am all about diversity, having an open mind and empowering others – I wanted my coffee shop to be in a community with the same values, and Berwyn has it!

Where is one of the most interesting places you’ve been?

EUROPE! I visited a few places in Europe a few years ago and I cannot wait to go back. I went to Amsterdam and visited Ann Frank’s house, which was an overwhelming experience, but I truly enjoyed it. I also went to Paris and climbed the Eiffel Tower, taking the stairs up and down as the line for the elevator was ridiculous. I almost passed out – clearly, I was not an active person. I made my way down to Italy where I visited Rome, Sorento, Capri and Florence, and finished my trip in Athens, Greece. I saw and learned so much history. My favorite was, of course, the delicious and fresh food and great wines!

If we were to hang out, what would we do?

I love to eat, so we would go to a new restaurant we both haven’t been to and have a nice brunch or dinner. Honestly, this is usually what I do when I hang out with friends: try a new restaurant and if we want to have a little more fun, we’d go look for a good old fashioned.

Where would you most like to visit and why?

ALBERTA! I really want to visit Alberta, Canada and my goal is to visit this year – I’m aiming to go on my birthday later in the year. I’m really attracted to all of the nature in Alberta. I want to hike the mountains, visit the lakes, go to the hot springs, visit the wolf sanctuary, get lost in Banff – find the hidden gems; coffee shops and restaurants. When I go, I do plan to disconnect completely – no phone, no laptop and just enjoy my trip… it’s much needed!

What risks are worth taking?

The risks worth taking are your own dreams! It may be scary. It may be a bumpy path. But no one else is going to make your dreams a reality – only you will. Do what you want to do. Do what you’re passionate about. So, stop dreaming and start doing!

What’s the last thing you Googled?

I googled ‘CPA requirements in IL.’ That’s right, getting my CPA is my next goal. I already reached out to my university and requested my bachelor’s and graduate transcripts. Time to hit the books again and get this process started. Wish me luck!   

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