• Mike Sula
  • Grilled cheese at Sauce and Bread Kitchen

When I last checked in with Mike Bancroft, he was pushing a line of three excellent hot sauces in order to fund Co-op Image, the youth arts-education center he founded on the west side. Since then the sauce business has been very good to him—and to the arts center. Today Co-op Sauce is an independent business, with a full line of ten sauces (plus short-run seasonal and collaborative ones), as well as vinegars, salsa, barbecue sauces, and pickles, all produced with a bounty of locally grown produce. And Bancroft has moved operations out of the cramped west-side arts center and into a dedicated kitchen in Rogers Park that he shares with baker (and girlfriend) Anne Kostrowski of Crumb Chicago. He still steers half the proceeds to the kids and employs a number of them in sauce production, monthly Stew Supper Club dinners, and operation of the cafe, which runs out of the front of the space four days a week. It has a tightly focused menu, featuring a handful of sandwiches, a salad, coffee, sodas, and a selection of Kostrowki’s baked goods, including the “bread board,” a choose-your-own sampler of breads and spreads.