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Habits Cafe relocating to nearby spot in Oakley Square

Posted at 4:53 PM, Apr 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-24 16:53:12-04

CINCINNATI — Mark Rogers promises the abrupt closing of Habits Café is not the final act for his well-known Oakley restaurant and bar.

"It's been a 40 year party and we're just going to keep it going," Rogers said Wednesday.

Four days earlier, people who went to Habits for Sunday brunch were disappointed to learn the café was permanently closed — at least inside 3036 Madison Road.

The notice posted on the front door also stated Habits' owner planned to reopen in the near future across Oakley Square, inside what is now the Oakley Laundromat at 3029 Madison Road.

"I had ended up with the laundromat in a defensive move," said Rogers, who purchased the property about a year-in-a-half ago to prevent a possible competing pub from moving in.

Rogers said he was forced to close and relocate after the former owner of 3036 Madison Road sold the property, ending a yearslong lease agreement between the pair.

According to Rogers, after opening Habits in 1980, he reached an agreement with the building's former owner giving him first right-of-refusal to buy the property if he ever wanted to sell it. Rogers added he was also promised Habits' lease would continue to be renewed if that time came and he declined to buy the building.

"It had gotten too high," he said of the final asking price of the property.

After the building was sold to its current owners, Rogers said, he learned the lease renewal stipulation wasn't included in the final sales contract.

"We've been renewing our lease month-by-month," he said.

Rogers said the current situation fast-tracked any potential plans he had in mind for the laundromat.

"I've been looking at what to do with that ever since," he said. "It's going to be Habits re-envisioned and reimagined."

Work is currently underway to convert the laundromat into a more diner-style version of Habits.

"It's going pretty quick," Rogers said.

And though he doesn't have a definitive timeline for when remodeling will finish, he promised "we're going to open up the day after it is finished."

"We'll have a really cool new place," Rogers said. "And the good news is we'll be doing breakfast seven days a week."