ROGERS PARK — After a decade in Rogers Park, Royal Coffee House will close up shop this week.
Although the coffee house at 6764 N. Sheridan Road will shut its doors Friday, Royal Coffee Corporation will still sell its coffee at various locations throughout Chicago — and is looking for a new location for a cafe in the neighborhood.
Known for coffee beans that come directly from Ethiopian farmers, Royal Coffee House has always prided itself at cutting out the middleman in order to provide fresh coffee “straight from farm to cup.”
Owner David Bekeley said he is closing the coffee house because the “rent is becoming too high.”
“I’m so sorry to hear they are closing,” said Rogers Park resident Heather Wilmington. “Everyone was so wonderful there and the food and coffee were great. I wouldn’t say we were weekly regulars, but when my kids and I would go in, they always treated us like they knew us. They will be missed.”
Rachel Jacobs, another Rogers Park resident, echoed Wilmington’s thoughts about being treated like regulars.
“Even after we moved some blocks away and didn’t come by very often, they remembered us and would ask after the kids,” she said. The owners “seemed like lovely people.”
Bekeley said it has been a pleasure to be a part of the community and to see many stories unfold right in his shop. He recalled couples who met at the coffee house and later became engaged. He saw some patrons go from being teenagers to becoming college graduates with families on the way.
Before searching for a new location, Bekeley said his family is going to take a month off for a much-needed vacation since two of his kids are getting ready to graduate from college and his third starts college next year.
“We haven’t had a vacation in nearly five years,” he said.
Bekeley wants people to know Royal Coffee will still be available to those who can’t wait until the new store opens.
Those looking for the unique cup of joe can find it at several markets, including the Devon Market, Fresh Food Market and Uptown Market. Soon the coffee will be available to purchase online, he said.
Royal Coffee House is the latest in a string of business casualties in Rogers Park including Leona’s and Heartland Cafe.
On Sunday, Ald.-elect Maria Hadden (49th) put out a statement regarding the recent closings. Although she shared residents’ concerns, she did not want people to be too alarmed.
“There’s no question that the cost of rent and real estate taxes has been a factor in some of the closings,” she said. “But it’s not the only reason. Some owners are moving on because they are ready for retirement and family time; others had business related issues that led to eventual closure. I’ve been in touch with all of the owners to learn about which challenges we as a community, and myself as Alderwoman, can work on to help our remaining incredible small businesses stay.”
In the statement Hadden reaffirmed her commitment to local business development and asked residents for their input about the health of Rogers Park’s local business community.
Wednesday will be the 10-year anniversary for Royal Coffee House’s brick-and-mortar location and it will also be the last day of operations.
“We have lovely memories here,” Bekeley said. “We love Rogers Park.”
For now, Bekeley wanted to say, “Thank you so much for so many great years.
“I’ve traveled to a lot of places all over the world, and nothing compares to Rogers Park.”
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