After hanging on two weeks past the announced closing date, Lido’s Caffe served what its owners believed was their last cup of coffee Jan. 16. So positive were they of no outside chance for a cash infusion, they immediately set about selling fixtures to try and recoup losses on a business that’s been in the red since it opened 17 months ago.
But just as they’d sold tables and a TV set, a surprise call came with an offer of help. Jan Louis, a Chicago resident who owns the café with two friends from Berwyn, said an uncle called saying he would give them a loan to hang on a little longer. So Lido’s reopened Saturday, after being closed for two weeks.
“Here we are, just like Lazarus,” said Louis, who wouldn’t give her uncle’s name or the amount of the loan, but said the money was enough to cover rent for two months.
She hopes the cash infusion, coupled with media attention about the closing, will help the café survive until summer, when she and her partners believe business will be better.
“I think with the publicity that we got, whether bad or good or indifferent, that people are at least aware that we’re here,” Louis said last week. “We have a little thing in the window saying that we’re going to reopen, and people have walked by and gotten on their cellphones, and given us a thumbs-up through the window. So it makes us feel good.”
Lido’s landlord, Anthony Shaker, has been cooperative and understanding, according to Louis, during the back and forth that she and her partners have gone through in deciding whether to close. Louis said Shaker is willing to let them return and try again.
The owners went to work last week, setting the café back the way it was before the Jan. 16 closing. And they called old employees asking if they want their jobs back.
Dana Rainey, an 18-year-old from Berwyn, was one person who got one of those calls. She and other employees and customers tried feverishly to save the café, putting together last-minute fundraisers and band marathons when they heard about the closing.
“I was really ecstatic when I found out they’d be reopening,” Rainey said last week. “It really happened out of the blue. I mean, they were already moved out and stuff, but I went over there the other day and it looked really nice.”