Cozy joint for java

By The Columbia Chronicle

Christopher La Pelusa

Assistant Campus/Viewpoints Editor

In the mid 70s Starbucks introduced itself to the world. By the time the 90s rolled around it had become one of the largest coffee chains in the country, to the point where the words ‘coffee’ and ‘Starbucks’ went hand-in-hand. As it grew it took the attention away from many smaller coffee shops, but now Starbucks has become more of a trend than a coffee shop. Everyone, from teenaged to elderly, flocks to the nearest Starbucks morning, noon and evening to get their cup of coffee or flavored tea.

True, Starbucks is a great place to go enjoy a cup of coffee if you’re on the go or just feel like sitting at table a barely big enough for your cup. But sometimes a more quaint and unique atmosphere is desired.

The Heartland Café (7000 N. Glenwood) is like a miniature city with a restaurant, a bar, a coffee shop, a music room, a studio theater, a newsstand and a general store. A good cup of coffee is as common here as at any Starbucks. But every Starbucks in the country is pretty much the same, and there’s one on every corner from Maine to California. Some prefer knowing that no matter where they go they’ll get the same thing, while others find this unoriginal and dull.

The Heartland Café is a one of a kind. It was founded 22 years ago by co-owners Katie Hogan, Dianne Libman and Michael James, who happens to be one of Columbia’s own.. He taught ‘Organizing For Social Change’ at Columbia from 1975 to 85. On a little cobblestone street that runs parallel to Sheridan, Heartland’s tiny cove is colorfully lit and neighbored by several stores. This street is known to some as the “Glenwood strip” in the heart of Rogers Park. Upon entering you feel like you’ve opened a Chicago history book filled with forgotten memories of poets, musicians and artists. The rustic interior of this historical cafe has welcomed movie stars, mainstream musicians (including Chicago native Liz Phair) and politicians.

So, Starbucks isn’t the only place in the world to get a cup of coffee. The Heartland Café has cheaper prices and a variety of coffee flavors. Unlike Starbucks, it offers free refills and brings your order to you. It’s a great place to sit down, relax, and enjoy an artistic atmosphere over a bottomless cup of coffee. Or you could cram yourself into the nearest closet known as Starbucks and wait in a line that never ends.