The Heartland Cafe, a Rogers Park staple near Loyola’s campus and the backdrop for many memories of the neighborhood’s residents, is set to close Dec. 31 with the possibility of opening in a different location, the restaurant’s owner said.
Tom Rosenfeld, the Heartland’s owner, said the age of the building has caused financial issues, which is why he decided to put it up for sale in September, The Phoenix reported. The cafe, housed in a 100-year-old building, is known for its political involvement and vegetarian and vegan options.
The building (7000 N. Glenwood Ave.) is set to be demolished, then the buyer might build rental apartments on the lot and have some type of commercial business on the first floor, according to Rosenfeld. He said he’s been looking for a new location for the cafe for a few months but hasn’t made any decisions because he wasn’t sure when the building would sell.
It’s also possible the cafe could reopen in the same location once a new building is there, but it depends on the new owner’s plans, according to Rosenfeld.
“We’ve been looking to find a home,” Rosenfeld said. “That would either be a permanent home or a temporary home if we were able to relocate back into that building.”
Many residents recall key moments in their lives occurring at the cafe, such as having their first dates with their future spouses, according to Rosenfeld.
“I got an email just the other day from someone who said that, in 1987, they had their first date with the person who became their spouse and they’re still married today,” Rosenfeld said. “It’s been a place for lots of first dates. Lots of weddings. Lots of funerals. It’s part of life in Rogers Park.”
In addition to being well loved by many in the community, Heartland has a history of hosting political candidates throughout its 42 years in operation. Former President Barack Obama and former Chicago mayor Harold Washington have spoken at the cafe; more recently, Chicago mayoral candidate Amara Enyia, The Phoenix reported.
Rosenfeld said he’s going to notify the community as soon as he finds a new location for the cafe.
“We strongly encourage people to come say goodbye,” Rosenfeld said. “We want everyone to put some good thoughts out there that we find the right home.”