Cafe Ambrosia closes

Brian Rosenthal

Updated March 26, 5 p.m.

Northwestern students returning from Spring Break will have one less coffee shop where they can go to study.

Cafe Ambrosia, a popular student study spot, closed this week after suffering from a lack of business, said employee and NU student Corinne Ellis.

“It kind of got to be too much and we weren’t making a profit anymore,” said Ellis, a Weinberg sophomore. “So we had to close, which kind of sucks.”

At the cafe, 1620 Orrington Ave., the windows and front door are now covered with brown paper and blue duct tape. The trademark green awning has been taken down, and the shop’s name has been replaced with a sign declaring the property “for rent.”

“I think it will be missed,” Ellis said. “I know I’ll definitely miss it.”

The business officially closed on Sunday, said a representative for Robinson Rentals, which owns the property. The building is now available for lease, and the company is optimistic that the location will be rented again soon despite the poor economy.

When owner Mike Renollet and general manager Matt Spenoik opened the cafe in the summer of 2005, they made clear that it was to be specifically geared towards college students. Neither man could be reached for comment.

The closure may be a bad sign for the recent attempt to revitalize the downtown part of Orrington Avenue. Ambrosia was a key part of that effort, but the street proved to be a liability to the business, Ellis said.

“I’m constantly working, looking to recruit business to bring them to downtown Evanston” said Carrolyn Dellutri, the executive director of Evmark, and organization responsible for “marketing and managing downtown Evanston.”

It’s also an indication of the rough economy, said Ellis, adding that in the past few months, students still studied at the cafe but the economy forced some patrons to cut back.

“We have our share of vacancies in downtown Evanston,” Dellutri said. “I would say across the country, downtowns are seeing this. It’s a sign of the economic times.”

While the closing was unannounced, cafe employees have been talking about it since Saturday, Ellis said.

“It was a great place to work and it was a great place to study,” she said. “It’s a shame it’s not going to be there anymore.

We will have a full story on the closing in our first issue March 31.

Chris Gentilviso contributed reporting.

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