Beloved Rogers Park cafe closes its doors

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CHICAGO – A North Side neighborhood said goodbye to an iconic restaurant Monday.

Heartland Café in Rogers Park closed their doors for good at 5 p.m.

As the name would suggest, neighbors say the restaurant is the heart and soul of Rogers Park.

“This place is not just a business and I knew it wasn’t,” owner Tom Rosenfeld said. “I was a longtime customer before I took over. I knew what it was.  But it really is humbling and kind of overwhelming on the level of responsibility.”

The cafe opened back in 1976.

The mural across the street pays tribute to it’s original owners. Rosenfeld took over in 2012.

“This building has been the end of us,” he said. “This is a very old building.  We’ve put a lot of money into it and like many old buildings, it needs more and more.  It’s never ending.”

So they decided to close up shop, for good.

And many longtime customers are sad to see it go.

Ayana Rhodes Morton has been coming here with her family every week for several years.

“This would be one of our places we would come every Friday,” Morton said. “We would come eat and they would get to know our favorite waitress Tanja. We’re going to miss it.  It was really a nice place to have in the neighborhood.”

Morton’s family, along with many other customers are holding on to hope Heartland Café won’t be gone too long.

“We are actively looking to stay in Rogers Park and we’re excited we have some prospects,” Rosenfeld said.  “We have nothing that we can announce yet because nothing is done.  But we’re optimistic that we’ll find the right home.”

Heartland Café employs about 50 people.

Rosenfeld said just about everyone has found a new job.

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