What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been

In a note to their newsletter customer base the Heartland Cafe, who have been open for nearly a half century in Chicago, the proprietors confirmed that the venue and cafe will be closing at least temporarily while they seek a new home.

“Dear Family, This is a hard email to write, and I hope that you will forgive some brevity.

There has been a lot of uncertainty hanging over us lately, with questions on the fate of Heartland. As you know, the Heartland building has been listed for sale and we are now pretty far along with a sale. We might be able to come back once the new owners build a new building, but that won’t be for some time. So we have been reviewing new spaces. At this time, there are a few that might work and we are trying to work out details, but nothing is certain.

No matter what happens next, we will need to close down for at least a few months. What we know now is that Heartland’s last day of operation in our home for 42 years will be December 31.

This has been such a hard moment to arrive at. We are so thankful to you, our community, for the steadfast support and love you have shown to the Heartland Café over 5 decades. You may have found your voice here, met your spouse here, or created memories that travel with you forever. To the many, many past and current employees of Heartland, we cannot properly express our gratitude to you for your efforts to contribute to the cloth that is Heartland Café. To our wonderful customers – you are so much more than customers; you’ve been passengers on one of the more wild and crazy trips a restaurant could have ever taken. It’s always been more than just a restaurant, right? We’ve been your living room, your kitchen, your bar and your public square. Please know that we have always held that role with great reverence.

To Michael and Katy, our wonderful founders who took their vision and put in decades of sweat, tears and joy, we are so grateful to you. You breathed in Rogers Park and exhaled a space that could only exist in this neighborhood. Heartland has always been a reflection of you –outspoken, politically active, funny, lovable, a little rough around the edges, served with a splash of opinion and some veggies with black beans and rice. On behalf of the neighborhood who holds up your creation as an iconic symbol of Rogers Park, I thank you for what you created here.

We hope to find a suitable place that we can call home, and when we do, I will be able to write a new letter with new beginnings. But before then, please come by, say hi, thank your server, take a picture, leave a smile and say good-bye. We’ll do something a little more formal around the holidays, but for right now, we are just sitting with this truth and trying to grapple with the enormity of what this means for all of us who love the Heartland.