NOBLE SQUARE — After a few days of uncertainty and rumors, Noble Square's Swim Cafe has shuttered, as its owner battles cancer and looks for a new owner to take the reins.
On Tuesday, there was a sign in the window of the cafe at 1357 W. Chicago Ave. notifying customers it would be closed temporarily as its undergoes menu changes. On Thursday, owner Karen Gerod spoke with DNAinfo Chicago and confirmed that Swim Cafe is "permanently closed, and the cafe is for sale."
Gerod said she "put up an ambiguous note because we wanted to let customers know we're gone and coming back and hopefully someone else can take over."
Gerod has been battling cancer since last February.
"I was trying to run the cafe without being there [regularly] for the past 10 months. It just got too difficult, and I'm starting a tougher chemo regime. I can't do this anymore," Gerod said.
Gerod said there are almost two more years remaining on her lease, and she's working with a local broker to find a sub-leaser interested in taking over or buying the cafe.
She said that her landlord "is being understanding."
Gerod and her sister, Debra Gerod, who lives in California, opened Swim Cafe in 2005. The restaurant's name is a nod to the Chicago Park District's Eckhart Park indoor pool, which is across the street from Swim.
Last month, attendees of the Hideout's seasonal weekly Soup and Bread fundraiser, which Gerod has been an integral part of since its inception, raised more than $3,500 to help with her medical and personal expenses.
Gerod called the evening, "a wonderful blowout of people I see all the time and hadn't seen in awhile."
In a follow-up email, she expressed "unending thanks to our customers, who have been so wonderful."
Jessica Palmer, a co-organizer of the All She Wrote reading series that meets at Swim Cafe on the second Sunday of every month, announced Wednesday that her group will hold a final event at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 12 at the cafe.
Gerod said the Jan. 12 event, outside of free coffee drinks from an espresso bar, will be "a potluck everything deal" because she's donated all of the remaining food and drinks in her cafe to a food pantry.