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.


  1. So the P P & D committee unanimously recommended to reject this, but it passed anyway? The owners of the establishment even refused to make any real consolidations. EVA seems completely irrelevant if all it is going to do is rubber stamp the next party spot (the city will do it without intervention). The monstrosity of a bar masquerading as a bowling alley is another good example (2am on weekdays for a bowling alley?!?) Perhaps the EVA should relegate itself to social functions only.

  2. Actually, a more worrisome question is why the PP&D committee is making a recommendation that's completely opposite the clear desires of the overall East Village constituency.

    The member vote was 29-9 in favor of the outdoor cafe and the provisional votes were 15-4 in favor. If we went door to door, it would probably be an even bigger landslide.

    Chicago Ave needs development and we have business developers with track records of success that are converting vacant buildings to consumer businesses. This is a good thing....

  3. Jay5678, it is clear that you are disappointed in the outcome of the vote, me too! The difference is that many of us worked very hard to get these business owners to respect the concerns of our members. What did you do?

    Community organizations require the committment of volunteers to run the organization and more importantly, the dedication of residents to attend meetings regularly. This means showing up and participating, listening and contribting, not only when the issue is in YOUR front yard, but when it is on the other side of the community in your neighbor's.

    Business owners and developers are highly motivated by financial gain to 'get out the vote', its much harder for individuals to come out in support of their neighbors...but that's what COMMUNITY is all about. Without it, we are at their mercy.

    Roots/Bleeding Heart will not effect me in the least, even if it turns out to be as bad as we expect-but it will hurt our community, and more importantly it will hurt my neighbors, people who I have come to know over my twenty one years living in East Village, and my fourteen active in EVA. And when the next issue IS in my front yard, I know I can count on them to care, and back me up.

    The problem is not that EVA is irrelevant, or even that someone bought the vote, the problem is that poeple don't get involved until something threatens their interests personally...and then they quickly disappear.

    It should be no suprise to anyone attending the February EVA meeting when few of the passionate Roots supporters show up...the question is, Jay5678, will you be there?

  4. Who's ready to go door to door and talk about what kind of jobs or development this community needs? OK, jobs are a good thing. To recruit them requires a good fix on which businesses fit the neighborhood.

    The results won't stop a restaurant from opening this spring at Chicago & Winchester. Neither would have an EVA vote either way on rooftop seating. But a consensus on future development will bring us closer to making it happen.

    So, what's missing on your block? And how can the community bring it here? Adding your comments to this thread would be a start.

  5. EVResident you should come by in February and step up and make your voice heard. But I think you have to realize that the first letter of the PP&D committee stands for Planning. Businesses fail and close and we as a community are left to deal with the consequences. The proprietors of Bleeding Heart are going to be good neighbors and will take the steps to protect neighbors from the impact of rooftop events. But PP&D has to think more long term in the approach. What will the next business in that location do with that variance? It is a very sticky problem.

  6. What Chicago Ave really needs is a road diet:,0,377920.column

    It's not going to attract little shops and cafe's and boutiques being such a loud, fast, anti-pedestrian, ugly road. It will probably be relegated to being a dumping ground for big noisy bars like that "bowling alley" unless this changes.

  7. While I like and support Chicago Bowl, the idea of putting Chicago between Ashland and Western on a "road diet" is intriguing. If we could expand sidewalks and slow down traffic, it would make Chicago a much more attractive avenue. I guess we'll see how the Lawrence experiment goes.


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