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Uptown, Edgewater, Rogers Park

Heritage Outpost Coffee Shop Closes After 8 Years On Wilson Avenue, Consolidates Into Other Uptown Location

The bike-themed cafe opened in 2014 as the first sister business of Lakeview's Heritage Bikes & Coffee.

Heritage Outpost coffee shop, 1325 W. Wilson Ave., closed after 8 years.
Joe Ward/Block Club Chicago
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UPTOWN — A bike-themed coffee shop has closed its doors as it tries to consolidate and focus on its sister location in the neighborhood.

Heritage Outpost, 1325 W. Wilson Ave., closed permanently after business hours Sunday, owner Michael Salvatore said. The closure caps an eight-year-run for a business that was the first in a series of spin-off cafes from Salvatore’s combination-bike-and-coffee shop in Lakeview.

Heritage Bikes and Coffee opened in 2012 on Lincoln Avenue in Lakeview, offering made-in-Chicago bikes, cycling accessories and coffee drinks.

Salvatore then opened a series of bike-themed cafes named Heritage Outpost, with the first opening in late 2014 on Wilson Avenue. The cafe included a takeout window on Wilson Avenue and a seating area with bikes on display plus bike accessories for sale.

A second Heritage Outpost came to Uptown in 2016, opening in the newly renovated Lawrence House, 1020 W. Lawrence Ave.

But lingering effects from the pandemic and economic factors such as inflation and worker shortages have caused Heritage Outpost to scale back, Salvatore said.

The Wilson Avenue shop will close so the business can shift resources into the Lawrence Avenue location, Salvatore said. Salvatore also owns Larry’s bar in the Lawrence House complex.

“It just didn’t get back to the pre-pandemic levels it needed to,” he said. “It wasn’t really worth trying to manage two locations with shortages of materials and staff. I didn’t want to do that to my team.”

Heritage Outposts also recently decided to close locations in Fulton Market, River North and Downtown, Salvatore said.

Heritage Outpost is hampered by many of the same factors that continue to plague Chicago’s independent coffee shops, including a lack of employee manpower, inflation and loss of customers, Salvatore said.

Many Chicago coffee shops have closed or have been forced to scale back due to slower sales and fewer employees. Such businesses were particularly hurt by the pandemic because a big part of the model is providing a “third space” for neighbors and workers to hang out.

The conditions are forcing coffee shops to try new ideas and concepts to survive. Heritage’s flagship location in Lakeview will soon roll out a new lunch menu, Salvatore said.

Salvatore has also opened new businesses. That includes the West Loop’s Froth Cafe, which bills itself as “a cocktail approach to coffee,” and Bunker, a West Loop bar and eatery.

“It’s just the environment were in,” Salvatore said. “Us as small business owners have to adapt. I see it as an opportunity.”

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