CHICAGO — For five years, Café Marie Jeanne served what one customer described as simple but well-prepared European-style dishes at the corner of California Avenue and Augusta Boulevard.
But last Thursday owner Mike Simmons announced it would be closing for good as it could no longer survive after nine months of COVID-19 restrictions.
“I’m really sad about it, this was a great neighborhood place,” customer Eileen Black said. “This won’t be the first great place that we’ve lost, but it’s definitely going to make an impact.”
Losing money, incurring debt and facing the possibility of not being able to pay workers, Simmons said he was forced to make the hard decision to shut down.
Since he made the announcement, people have been waiting in line for hours to get their last taste of the neighborhood favorite.
“It’s been completely bonkers, the outpouring of support,” Simmons said. “I feel like I’m on the verge of tears.”
Simmons expressed frustration that there’s less flexibility and what seems like less support for restaurants that are only able to offer indoor dining.
“Not only are businesses like us going down, but then these people who can afford to build these weird like Covid incubator bubbles are packing them full every day,” Simmons said.
While he said he doesn’t know exactly what the future holds, Simmons said he may pop up with some items at a friend’s place but Cafe Marie Jean as customers know it is closed for good.