New Name Coming After Cafe 57 Sold in Hyde Park

By Sam Cholke on January 22, 2013 4:18pm 

 Cafe 57 was sold after its owners struggled to make a profit at the coffee shop under the 57th Street Metra overpass.
Cafe 57 was sold after its owners struggled to make a profit at the coffee shop under the 57th Street Metra overpass.
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DNAInfo/Sam Cholke

HYDE PARKCafé 57 under the Metra tracks in Hyde Park is under new ownership — and it's also in line for a new name and lower prices.

Danny Morales, the new manager at the cafe at 1520 E. 57th St., said little will change for regulars.

But, on second thought, Morales offered this:

“I’m going to drop prices."

The name will change to Hyde Park Café, but the corn beef on whole grain bread will remain and the pastry selection will expand after Morales slaps on a new coat of paint and puts in a new counter. And he's going to give chips with each sandwich.

Morales, who previously worked at Park View Café in Wicker Park, purchased the café with Mohamed Murtha from Tony Wilkins, a Hyde Park investor.

"In two years, we were never profitable," said Wilkins, who bought Cafe 57 from Istria Cafe in December 2010 and kept on manager Belinda Lipscomb to run the business.

Istria Café pulled out, citing at the time difficulty making a profit with its offerings. City health inspectors also repeatedly cited the café for problems with rodents and insects.

Café 57 cleaned up the location and Wilkins said it struggled because of personnel problems, not any problems with the space.

"I would have closed it instead of selling it if there was anything wrong with the property," Wilkins said. "The problem was really managing the employees."

The staff of Café 57 will remain, but Lipscomb is searching for a new location to open a coffee shop in Hyde Park.

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