About Us

Meet Melissa & Joe
Founders, Joe and Melissa Basilone, long dreamt of a place that would cornerstone the neighborhood that they had been working hard to revitalize for the previous few years. Prior tenants of the space now occupied by Perkolator were the first to bring the cafe concept to the neighborhood, but after two years of unsteady sales, were unable to realize that dream. Having spent over 15 years in the coffee industry at that time, Joe Basilone felt he was uniquely positioned to re-open this space as the cafe the neighborhood had longed for. After 9 months of sitting vacant, Perkolator opened its doors at 6032 W. Irving Park Road in September of 2014 in the heart of the Irving Austin Business District.

Prior to opening their first business, Thrift & Thrive, it was clear to the Basilones that this area was beckoning for retail and restaurant options. Having lived in the area since 2007, Melissa and Joe had discussed opening a business together dozens of times, but couldn’t agree on what it should be. Melissa was interested in DIY and vintage, while Joe was more of a retail restaurant operator by trade. The two were finally ready to take the first shot, and in July of 2011, combined their love of retail and vintage and opened a resale shop at 6025 W. Irving Park Road, across the street from where Perkolator now sits. Since opening, Thrift & Thrive has doubled in size, continues to refine their inventory and merchandising, and is going strong after 5 years of serving the community.

A year after opening Perkolator, the lease on the adjacent storefront became available, and the Basilones knew they had to have it. Not yet ready to double the size of the cafe, they realized that in order to make the lease worthwhile, the space would need to help pay for itself. Born from a combined necessity to fill a huge retail hole in the community, while also providing some additional income to keep the lights burning, Sputnik Books and Records was launched in October of 2015. The mid-century modern space-age themed media shop and lounge makes a nice addition to both the neighborhood and the cafe. Patrons are free to roam about and browse with coffee in hand, find a little nook to curl up with a book, enjoy records at the listening station, or just browse.