Economy Threatens Existence of Heartland Cafe

[The following open letter from 49th Ward Alderman Joe Moore sounds to my ears like deja vu all over again.  When Guild Books could no longer make it financially, many people came to our support but that was not enough.  Some people actually used the occasion to criticize Guild, a for profit business, for asking its customers to contribute for its survival.  The point, then as now, is that some institutions come to play a role in the community that helps people to understand their environment and to envision the possibilities of an alternative.  That is what we would lose if the Heartland goes under.  If you have extra cash, please go to the website listed in this open letter.  If you don’t, I’m sure Michael and Katy would appreciate the kind words of support and appreciation for their long term commitment.   — Lew Rosenbaum]

Dear Neighbor,

The Heartland Cafe , a Rogers Park institution and gathering place for over thirty years, is on the financial ropes, and they need our help.

A combination of a bad economy and banks which have refused to extend credit, has contributed to the Heartland Cafe’s current financial squeeze.  Without our help, the Heartland Cafe may be forced to close its doors.

Heartland Cafe co-founders, Michael James and Katy Hogan , distributed a letter recently detailing their financial plight and suggesting ways folks can help.  A copy of the letter is attached below:

Save_the_Heartland_Letter.pdf (51 KB)

Supporters have set up a web site,, where you can make a donation.

Michael and Katy are also offering membership discounts, selling gift certificates and seeking long-term, low-interest loans

As noted in a recent Gay Chicago Magazine article, the Heartland Cafe  is far more than just a restaurant; it has been a center for progressive grassroots politics, art events and live music since its doors opened in August, 1976.  It was one of the first businesses to recycle and boasts its own rooftop garden.  President Obama’s 2006 rally at the Heartland Cafe was featured prominently in his presidential campaign commercials and Mayor Harold Washington spoke to an overflow crowd at the Heartland Cafe  just two days before his historic primary election victory.

The Heartland Cafe also supports the nearby  Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre , the BoHo Theatre, the No Exit Cafe, and the Red Line Tap , a popular live music venue, all of which would be threatened by the Heartland’s closure. Its radio show, “Live from the Heartland,” is broadcast every Saturday at 9 a.m. on WLUW radio (88.7 FM).

I hope you will join me in doing everything you can to support this venerable institution.


Joe Moore


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