For 17 years, Metropolis Coffee — a coffee shop south of Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus— has served the Rogers Park and Edgewater community and students. The coffee shop has decided to temporarily close its doors due to COVID-19 as of Feb. 26, with a plan to reopen by the end of April.
Tony Dreyfuss, president and founder of Metropolis Coffee Company, said the coffee shop was suffering massive losses due to the pandemic and a lack of people coming into the shop.
“When you put a literal wall between the workers and the customers it just really isn’t the spirit of connection that we used to have,” Dreyfuss, 46, said. “It just wasn’t conducive to what we built back in 2003.”
Metropolis (1039 W. Granville Ave.) broke the news of the temporary closure with a social media post Feb. 23. The post received a number of questions and comments about reopening plans and what will happen to the coffee shop’s staff.
In the post, the owner stated the COVID-19 cafe experience isn’t what Dreyfuss and his father envisioned for the coffee shop when they opened it back in 2003. The post also said with no seating, trying to hear customers through plexiglass and having limited hours “just didn’t feel right.”
“The vast majority of people that read the post were saying that they were going to miss us,” Dreyfuss told The Phoenix. “People were a little bit shocked by the news.”
In a Feb. 26 follow-up post, Dreyfuss acknowledged the staff at Metropolis Coffee Company and emphasized the impact that the staff had on the company.
The coffee shop originally closed for a couple weeks when the pandemic first began in March 2020, according to Dreyfuss. After that, the store served coffee out of the vestibule through summer and fall. In the winter, the shop was converted into a COVID-safe format for people to order indoors. But Dreyfuss said it never felt right.
Due to COVID-19, the coffee shop was losing a “tremendous” amount of money since the start of the pandemic last March, and Dreyfuss didn’t see that loss in sales stopping anytime soon.
Dreyfuss said his staff was laid off with the temporary closure, but he has reached out to them to come back when the store opens back up in April.
Though the physical shop is closed, Metropolis is still selling coffee on its website. As a wholesale company, Dreyfuss said it supplies businesses with coffee, tea and equipment.
For its reopening in April, Dreyfuss said he is trying to reconfigure the store. He also said he’s focusing on products and gearing them to those who live in the neighborhood. Dreyfuss said the goal is to create a broader menu for families and fast service for commuters while also staying on a tight budget due to the pandemic.
“We are planning some events for when the store opens up,” Dreyfuss said. “We are going to have seating that is allowable by the city and a vaccinated staff. We are just going to celebrate being open.”