Bleeding Heart gets consent for outdoor cafe

East Village Association members recommended that Ald. Joe Moreno approve rooftop seating for the Bleeding Heart Bakery restaurant under construction at 1916 W. Chicago.

Committeeman Jesse Ruben Juarez told a packed house Monday that the 1st Ward Democratic Organization wanted to encourage new jobs from the bakery and an adjoining pizzaria. "Our office will keep them accountable," Juarez told members before the vote.

The EVA vote was advisory to Moreno. The City Council must approve the rooftop cafe's special-use permit.

The meeting adjourned before results were announced, because eligibility of all voters could not immediately be confirmed. However, secretary Dana Palmer told EVA board members in a late-night e-mail that the undisputed ballots were enough to carry the day. President Greg Nagel declared Tuesday that the motion had passed.

About 75 people filled the Happy Village party room at 1059 N. Wolcott, and 57 cast paper ballots with their name and a yes or no vote. Palmer said 29 yes voters, a majority, were confirmed onsite as members in good standing.

One-third the ballots were provisional, from people who said they had paid dues online or in person but were not on the member rolls, and 15 of those 19 votes favored the rooftop exception for Bleeding Heart Bakery Cafe.

The EVA board's Planning, Preservation & Development committee recommended unanimously that EVA members reject the proposal, co-chair Scott Rappe said before the vote. Directors cited noise concerns and the lack of an agreement to limit hours, Rappe said. The city allows outdoor cafes to operate till midnight.

The restaurants are taking over space rezoned for a restaurant development that failed to open. Both bakery and pizza restaurants would serve liquor. Rappe said it was unclear whether other operators could use the rooftop exemption.

Wedding-cake designer Michelle Garcia, Bleeding Heart's co-founder, told EVA members that the cafe would be host to evening rooftop receptions. However, managing partner Scott Weiner would not rule out that his adjoining Roots Handmade Pizza restaurant would lease the Bleeding Heart space.
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