ROGERS PARK — Heartland Cafe's beachfront eatery in Loyola Park is nearly set to get a big upgrade.
Cafe owner Tom Rosenfeld said he's gotten preliminary approval to build a new patio on the east side of the "beach stand" and Is working to obtain official permits.
"The Heartland beach stand has been out there for, I don't know, 15, 20 years, maybe more," he said. "For years it was just a hot dog joint."
Ben Woodard discusses Heartland Cafe's proposal:
But now he's trying to create "more of an experience" along a prime lakefront location, he said.
The plan is to build a deck off the east side of the existing, single-room hut, which now doesn't sell much more than ice cream and snack food.
The new deck would include tables, covered with umbrellas to shield diners from the sun.
He said he expects to offer table service, and a new menu.
Well, sort of.
He said he's resurrecting the "classic" Heartland Cafe menu that was mostly phased out this winter, a year after he took over the cafe.
To start, the menu will include chips and dip, nachos, burritos and quesadillas. Other Mexican-inspired dishes will follow, he said.
"You can sit there and look at the lake and have your meal," he said. "We're trying to turn it into a place you'll actually go to."
And that's not all.
The final "hope," he said, is to obtain a license from the Park District to alcoholic drinks.