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RoPa Cabana Coming Soon

Tobias Bechloff and Heather Miller just signed a three-year contract with the Park District to operate The Loyola Beach House at 1230 W Greenleaf. The process was neither quick nor easy. But, now that the contract is signed, the couple is working hard to transform the building from its current ramshackle condition into the showplace they both know it can be. They are going to call their new restaurant the Ropa Cabana (short for ROgers PArk). It’s easy to find at the end of Greenleaf, right next to the Loyola Beach Playground.

Heather has lived in Rogers Park since 2005 and says she wouldn’t live anywhere else. She met Tobias, a German national, when he was in Chicago several years back during the airing of his documentary, "No More Things," at the Beloit Film Festival. The two are now married and still living in Rogers Park.

Heather said they would often walk by the Beach House and imagine what they could do with it if given the chance. But unlike most of us, Heather and Tobias decided to pursue their dreams and apply with the Park District to make it happen.

The couple is working hard to make sure everything will be ready for opening day later this June. All their work is at their own expense since the Park District does not reimburse for renovation expenses. Their vision is to create a place where Rogers Parkers of all stripes will feel at home and welcome. The soaring temperatures and high humidities have not made this effort any easier as Chicago’s summer season kicks off with a blast!

The menu will consist of Mocktails, Shaved / Italian Ice, Hot Dogs, Walking Tacos and Mac N Cheese - with vegetarian options. You can also get coffee and pastries in the morning. Once the restaurant is up and running, Heather and Tobias would like to build a small stage for local musicians and artists to perform.

The couple’s effort and hard work will be its own reward if they succeed in creating a space for neighborhood beachgoers to relax with friends over a cold drink and some good food while listening to live music or a poetry slam! What better way to say good-bye to the pandemic and enjoy the upcoming summer season? After the lost year we’ve just been through, there are going to be a lot of people who will be happy for the opportunity.




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