Lido's Caffe quietly closes

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By Marty Stempniak

Staff Reporter

An Oak Park coffee shop that seemingly had more lives than a cat appears to have finally run out of second chances.

Lido's Caffe, 122 N. Marion, quietly closed for good over the weekend. All that was left of the small, independent café Monday was a sign in the window, announcing that the retail space is available for lease or purchase.

Co-owners and Berwyn residents Lido Petrucci and Louise Mihalik declined to comment when reached Monday, but confirmed that the business closed at the end of December.

Before opening back in August 2008, Petrucci poured more than $200,000 into the former furrier space, transforming it into a spiffy eatery, complete with flat-screen TVs and shiny hardwood floors. But business wasn't brisk, start-up costs were far greater than expected, and Lido's lost its safety net when Petrucci lost his job of 40 years in 2009.

The cafe was set to shut down in January 2010, but a last-minute loan from one of the owners' relatives brought them back from the dead. Owners said last February that they hoped the publicity from their first closing might carry them through troubled economic times.

Property owner Anthony Shaker said in a press release Tuesday that the storeowners were planning to file for bankruptcy liquidation shortly after the closure on Dec. 30. The landlord had started to terminate the lease before the café closed, and he has been marketing it with some interest for sale or lease, according to the press release.

Customers lamented the loss of Lido's on the café's Facebook page and at the online community, LiveHereOakPark.com.

"So sad to see this place go," "Krista" wrote on the site earlier this week. "Great coffee, lattes, gelato and specialty drinks."

Reader Comments

14 Comments - Add Your Comment

Comment Policy

Violet Aura  

Posted: January 9th, 2011 6:12 PM

Becky: "Voucher?" Honey, I am great at reading between the lines. Listen to El Rushbo much? Wow, OP has turned very pro-exploitation, I see. Not surprising when you consider how much money it costs to live there. So who owns houses there anymore? Back in the day you could be a social worker or teacher and single-income earner but with taxes alone at 14K annually, let alone the mortgages, what professions can support that expense? By the way, it helps OP to have businesses other than fast food.

DJ  

Posted: January 9th, 2011 4:41 PM

I know that there were likely numerous causes of Lido's demise, e.g., economic recession, etc., but what does this say about the revitalization that was predicted to occur as a result of opening Marion street to traffic?

Bruce  

Posted: January 8th, 2011 1:03 PM

In simple terms, Lido's failed because expenses exceeded revenue. They didn't sell enough coffee to pay the rent. If the Shaker company is partly to blame for not lowering the rent (exp), aren't we, the consumer also responsible for not patronizing the cafe more frequently (rev)? If the Shaker company could/should feel the pain by taking the hit on its profits, couldn't/shouldn't we, during these trying times, take the hit and feel the pain of chilling at a table rather than a comfy chair?

Purple Haze from Oak Park  

Posted: January 7th, 2011 7:32 PM

Violet, please don't impose your value system on Mr. Shaker or anyone else. Very intolerant. He gave Barbara's way more leeway than most when they stopped paying their bills. Had he failed to pay his property taxes as a result you'd best believe that Crook County would've slapped a lien on him fast enough to make your head spin. Plus, when he does exit here, the IRS via the Death Tax will make sure he can't take it with him. Enough of the redistribution already...

Rebecca  

Posted: January 7th, 2011 5:15 PM

Mr. Shaker is running a succesfull private enterprise not a government "voucher" program for failing businesses. Life is not fair people, move on.

Violet Aura  

Posted: January 7th, 2011 2:32 PM

"Business man?" Being an ETHICAL human being (even if you are trying to make a profit) takes into account what you can afford to lose sometimes. If I am a multimillionaire and the economy sucks, do I kick out an independent bookstore in favor of a chain sandwich shop simply because of $$$$? Is that what life is all about to you? 'Cause Babycakes, we don't take a thin dime with us when we exit here, so I guess it's not all that important in the grand scheme of things...

agree with get over it... from River Forest  

Posted: January 7th, 2011 1:18 PM

Violet Aura, you tell the original Get over it that Mr Shaker owned the building where Barbara's was, and should have lowered his rent there, etc, etc. As T Knocks said, he would gladly lower if his lenders/mortage holders would lower his costs, repair companies would lower their costs, and cook county would magically lower their taxes. Barbara's agreed to rent,didn't pay it, Shaker even gave them time to pay it, they said tough luck and now they are gone. Good for him for being a businessman

Violet Aura  

Posted: January 7th, 2011 11:46 AM

Oh and about the coffee quality? Lavazza is great. I admit that sometimes it appeared that they didn't make it strong enough but it wasn't the coffee's fault. My biggest reason for not going there more often was that it didn't have comfy chairs to hang out for a while. I am not gonna sit at a table to chill.

Violet Aura  

Posted: January 7th, 2011 11:44 AM

@Get Over It, etc.: They may not have been forced to open the place, but with the economy as it is, it's not abnormal for landlords to lower rents. Take a look in the local paper if you don't believe me; I cannot believe how low OP apt. rents are these days! And Mr. Shaker was the same "gentleman" who owned the building in which Barbara's resided. The rent was 14K a month!!!! WTF justifies such a high rent? The guy's probably a multimillionaire and he can't give them a break? Whatever...

get over it... from oak park  

Posted: January 6th, 2011 4:32 PM

Violet Aura, Mr Shaker didn't hold a gun to their head and force them to sign the lease, they signed the lease. I feel bad for Lido's and crew, but let's face it, you have to sell a lot of coffee to make decent money. Place was too big for a coffee shop anyway. I wish them well, but no one should be blaming the "big bad landlord." The guy is a businessman, who is quite fair. Why should he give anything away?

Sandy Tolley from Oak Park  

Posted: January 6th, 2011 3:00 PM

Unfortunately, the coffee just wasn't that good. Was too weak. For the record, I'm not a Starbuck's fan (too bitter). Just want a decent rich cup of coffee. I have found the coffee at Cosi's (the chain across the street) had more flavor -- but they're going out of business too.

Tom from Oak Park  

Posted: January 5th, 2011 5:37 PM

This one isn't Shaker's fault. They have no real product but coffee and there's what, a dozen other places with cheaper coffee within walking distance? The food wasn't great, what little of it they had, prices were too high and the place was simply too darn big to operate just selling coffee.

T Knocks  

Posted: January 5th, 2011 1:13 PM

Yes, big, bad developer v little guy. I'll bet Mr. Shaker would gladly lower his asking rents if the tenants were able to convince the Shaker's lenders to forgive their mortgage and/or lower their interest rates and convince Cook County and the Village to lower the real estate taxes.

Violet Aura  

Posted: January 5th, 2011 12:31 PM

Heaven forbid that Mr. Shaker should lower his rents during this economic period.

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