LOWER EAST SIDE, Manhattan— The 70-year-old Cup and Saucer diner on the Lower East Side ran out out of food and time.
So many loyal customers showed on the Sunday before its official closing on Monday, there was no food left for the planned final day of service
The diner ran out of time when their landlord nearly doubled their rent when their lease ran out.
“It’s one of the few places on the Lower East Side that has some personality,” Nikki Burn, a Lower East Side resident told PIX11. “It’s very sad.”
Burns, her husband and baby came to the Cup and Saucer Monday one last time to say goodbye. The Lower East Side greasy spoon on the corner of Canal and Eldridge was a mainstay of the couple’s relationship for the last ten years.
“You could just sit in the restaurant, great windows. Cheap food,” her husband, Jack, told PIX11. “Not many places like that.”
But when the Cup and Saucer’s monthly rent of $8,000 nearly doubled, the owners knew it was time to pack it in.
And even though there are many other empty storefronts along Canal — other victims of steep rent hikes — noted Chinatown real estate lawyer Ed Fong says the changing demographics of the area mean the landlord can probably get the new $15,000 rent each month.
“You know what might find traction there, a place like Crossfit,” Fong said. “The changing face of the neighborhood, it’s younger.”
Public Advocate candidate David Eisenbach says the only hope for saving the Cup and Saucer is the Small Business and Job Survival Act, but it’s currently stalled in the City Council.
“Bill de Blasio and Tish James [the current Public Advocate] supported it at one point, but then they flipped,” Eisenbach told PIX11. “We need to get not career politicians, people who will stand up for small businesses to pass this bill and protect businesses like this.”
Loyal customers spent the afternoon posting thank you notes to Cup and Saucer owners John Vasukopoulos and Nick Tragaras.
“You see what greed is doing to communities that are special to New York City, and they are disappearing,” said Chloe Richards, one of the diner’s loyal customers.