Ready for a new challenge, Maggie Pleskac will close Maggie’s Vegetarian Cafe on Dec. 31 after more than 17 years in the Haymarket.
“Financially, we were doing great, but I need to shift gears,” Pleskac said in a phone interview after announcing Maggie’s impending closure Friday morning on Facebook. “I was 25 when I opened it, and I’ve grown up alongside it. It’s time to shift.”
Pleskac, 42, opened her cafe in July 2000 at 311 N. Eighth St. It became known for its vegetarian wraps, freshly baked muffins and homemade soups.
"I wasn't sure that Lincoln was ready to support a vegan/vegetarian cafe," Pleskac wrote in her Facebook post. "Not only was the community ready for plant-based fare but also longing for fresh, organic, locally sourced foods."
Pleskac said she has paid her rent through the end of January, with hopes that someone will approach her to take over the space as a cafe and/or bakery. Her equipment includes a 3-month-old oven.
“It would be perfect as a turn-key operation,” she said.
By 3 p.m. Friday, more than 360 people already had “liked” her Facebook post, with many of them responding with posts of their own.
“Your food is made with love and served with kindness,” one customer wrote. “You have been a sanctuary for many, especially plant-based souls such as myself …”
Pleskac said she read two of the comments after teaching her Friday yoga class and had to stop because she “burst into tears.”
“I’ll have to take them in small doses,” she said. “I am humbled and grateful beyond words for the support I have received through the years. Our customers, co-workers (and) farmers have been the heart of the cafe and have become lifelong friends."
She declined to say what she plans to do next, but hinted it still will involve food.
"There is another level of sustenance brewing," she wrote on Facebook. "When we resurface, we hope to meet you at the table.
"Until then, create the space and time to be in your own kitchens. Feed yourself, your friends, neighbors, family and even strangers. A shared meal is the universal thread that knits us all together."