Last week, the Cornerstone Cafe on the NE corner of Avenue B and Second Street announced its closure after 10-plus years in business.
In an Instagram post, the Cornerstone cited the ongoing pandemic and the city's related mandates and restrictions for the closure.
EVG contributor Stacie Joy later ran into owner Rocco Opramolla. Aside from the reasons stated above, he said that the landlord raised his rent this year. He was previously paying $4,000 a month, which allowed him to offer specials such as the $4 breakfast.
Rocco said that he just couldn't pay the new rent, which he didn't disclose, with all the NYC COVID-19 restrictions. Before owning his own restaurant, Rocco spent nearly 25 years working as a meat cutter, a profession he may revisit. He's nearing 60 and not too far from retirement age, and he plans to visit his kids in San Diego and then take "a little vacation" and relax after 10-plus years of running the restaurant.
He'll decide what to do when he gets back early next year. Rocco says he might open a new place if things are different going forward, but he couldn't do it during COVID time.