Unicorn Cafe closes after 29 years in Evanston


Daily file photo by Colin Boyle

The Unicorn Cafe storefront. The store closed recently after almost 30 years in Evanston.

Jacob Fulton, City Editor

After nearly 30 years in Evanston, Unicorn Cafe has closed its doors permanently.

Paul Zalmezak, Evanston’s economic development manager, told The Daily that Unicorn Cafe’s owner, Jessica Donnelly, confirmed the coffee shop’s closure on Monday. Zalmezak said Unicorn Cafe’s position as an Evanston mainstay was impacted by COVID-19 and the resulting recession, causing a decrease in customers.

Previously, Donnelly told The Daily the cafe was seeing significantly lower visitors amid the pandemic — in May, she estimated the store would see eight to 10 customers a day. Donnelly had to close Unicorn Cafe’s in-person seating at the beginning of the pandemic, giving employees multiple weeks off as a result.

Unicorn Cafe, which was founded in 1991, joins a multitude of Evanston businesses facing closures in recent months, including large chain retailers and restaurants such as Barnes & Noble, Panera Bread and Andy’s Frozen Custard.

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Twitter: @jacobnfulton

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