The Park Cafe & Coffee Bar in Bolton Hill has closed, with its last day on Thursday.
The cafe announced the closure on Twitter, writing the decision was reached with “mixed emotions” and while the business is at the “top of our game.”
The cafe, inspired by owner David Hart’s time living in Rome, is shuttering after two and a half years at 132 McMechen St. The closing, Hart said, is not a reaction to the five robberies Park Cafe faced between October and January, but rather a chance for Hart to take personal time off.
“[Closing] was a personal decision based on priorities — it had nothing to do with any external force,” Hart said.
Hart missed vacations and birthday parties while running the cafe, he said, and chose to close in order to reconnect with friends and family. He notified staff and community leaders on July 5 and closed the next day.
The cafe was robbed on Oct. 12, Oct. 31, Nov. 9, Jan. 14 and Jan. 20 despite security measures introduced after each incident. Hart installed security cameras and panic bars on doors and increased lighting around the business. After the latest robbery, he went cashless in hopes that the robberies would stop.
Police arrested Joseph Arthur Dinkins on Jan. 24 in connection with multiple Bolton Hill robberies, including those at Park Cafe and the Park Avenue Pharmacy on the same street.
While the robberies are part of the cafe’s history, Hart said, the more important story is how the community “wrapped its arms around this cafe” in the months since the last incident.
Hart said he intends to sell the cafe space to another business that will provide the same community experience Park Cafe & Coffee Bar did.
“If I can walk away knowing this place is not dark and someone can pick up the torch and go, I’ll be happy,” he said.