Garlic Press Cafe To Close In Uptown Normal | WGLT

Garlic Press Cafe To Close In Uptown Normal

Jul 31, 2017

An anchor of Uptown Normal is closing. Owners say they are shutting down the Garlic Press Market Cafe.

Owner Sarah Bushnell McManus said the adjoining gift store will remain open. But McManus says about 15 people will lose their jobs in September when the cafe ends a 12-year run.

"They have lots of notice. We are upping everybody's pay so that they will stay with us. We had wonderful tearful and happy hugs yesterday. They are saying I want to stay. And it's going to be a beautiful, loving, and sad thing," said McManus.

McManus said her mother, Dorothy Bushell, is taking a step back from the gift store after 42 years and Sarah can't oversee the cafe and half the gift store at the same time. She said the restaurant is successful, but the margin is not high enough to be able to hire someone else to run it.

"Some great people have come and then gone. Tears have been shed. Hands have been wrung every time they would leave. And then these other wonderful people would show up in our lives and start working here. And they have added different recipes and techniques and feelings to the food. But it's really hard to continue that," said McManus.

She said the Garlic Press has ideas on what to do with the space, but is not ready to talk about them.

Starbucks has announced plans to open a coffee shop in the nearby Hyatt Place. But McManus said the prospect of increased competition had nothing to do with the decision to close the cafe.

WGLT depends on financial support from users to bring you stories and interviews like this one. As someone who values experienced, knowledgeable, and award-winning journalists covering meaningful stories in central Illinois, please consider making a contribution.