Monday, January 23, 2023

Rent hike forcing Café Cortadito to close on 3rd Street

Photos and reporting by Stacie Joy 

After 18 years in business, Café Cortadito (210 E. Third St., just east of Avenue B) is closing at the end of the month. 

Ricardo Arias and Patricia Valencia, the husband-and-wife owners of the popular Cuban restaurant, say they can't afford the landlord's rent hike from $8,000 to $15,000 a month. The last day is this coming Saturday, Jan. 28. (There was also an issue with a large water bill passed along by the landlord during the pandemic. The matter ended up in court, and a judge sided with the landlord.)
The Cortadito team also said that they would be dismantling the curbside dining structure and donating salvageable parts to the nearby community garden and to people who requested a souvenir from the restaurant...
On the positive side, the owners said they would like to stay local and are hoping to relocate elsewhere in the neighborhood — they've already looked at a few available spaces on Second Avenue. 

As for what's next for this space, there's speculation that corner tenant Poco may take over this lease.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

"The city had commercial rent control from 1945 to 1963, enacted through state laws in response to “complaints about excessive rents and evictions from New York City commercial tenants” post-World War II, according to a 1983 article that appeared in Washington University’s “Urban Annual Law.” During that time, commercial rent increases were only permitted through a written agreement between the landlord and tenant, arbitration or court order."
https://therealdeal.com/2021/09/15/landlords-sound-alarm-on-commercial-rent-regulation-bill/

https://chhayacdc.org/campaigns/commercial-rent-stabilization/
Are you a small business owner? Do you belong to a group that wants to prevent displacement and speculation? Follow us on Twitter and use our hashtags: #NoSmallBizNoNYC #FairRentNYC
Talk to your neighbors about commercial rent stabilization!

Anonymous said...

Terrible, they got the shaft allright.

Anonymous said...

Delicious food and wonderful owners, they will be missed

Anonymous said...

Thanks again Mr Landlord for pushing out a great establishment for what ever personal reasons you hold. Sad

Brian Van said...

How did they get a large water bill during the pandemic? Presumably they didn't have any customers during the time. Sounds really sketchy on behalf of the landlord.

These people are so well put-together (dismantling their shed! Donating the parts!) compared to your normal restaurant management team that I'm sure they'll come back in fantastic shape, they're just fleeing the space they're in because of all the nonsense

Neighbor said...

Maybe take the old Cornerstone Cafe space?!

NOTORIOUS said...

What a shitty thing to do a charming and successful local business... raising the rent that much. Hopefully there's another landlord out there with a space that he/she doesn't want yet another weed shop in who will have them.

Anonymous said...

3rd street between B & C. I imagine the landlord will be swatting off prospective offers like flies to open a business on that block — not

Anonymous said...

No one is paying $15k a month for rent for any place south of Avenue A so good job landlord, that place will stay empty.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the landlord next door is the same. If yes, that could explain things to some extent: Poco can presumably support higher rent with their daytime drinking business model. In which case, perhaps overall for the best to get far away from such neighbors.

Anonymous said...

@anonymous 1:02pm:

there is no such thing as south of Avenue A, so not sure what you mean, but...

while i'm sad about this, my only experience there was a brunch that rivaled poco in its drunkenness. overcrowded and mayhem. i wish i had a better first experience, because that one turned me off to the place in general. sounds like i should have given them a second chance.

Anonymous said...

Who's their landlord, the Marquis de Sade? That is beyond ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

This will lead to lower tax revenue for the city. Are people ready for the city to cut spending by 25 percent? Does anyone understand how the city budget works?

Anonymous said...

Do we know how many years have passed since their last rent hike?
There are plenty of businesses east of Avenue A that pay more than 8 grand a month.

Anonymous said...

@5:51 - yes, I'm ready for the city to cut spending by 25% but 75% would be even better. But the idea that there would be budget cuts by policy is laughable. Budget cuts that are necessary by bad policy decisions over the past 10+ years may actually (hopefully) happen against the wishes of the people who do not know how the city budget works.

Anonymous said...

@7:46pm: That sounds like the landlord commenting!

Anonymous said...

Please tell me that's a joke about poco

Glenn said...

Poco seems to have calmed down in the past few months, but that could just be the winter phase. It is loud and obnoxious but I've noticed a lot of Latina women who live on the block (where I also live) enjoy getting dressed up and going there for brunch. So they can have their fun—why not?—while I brunch at the laid-back Post down the street. I think a lot of people enjoy Poco because it's not some uber-expensive foodie clip joint.

I know the owners of Cafe Cortadito and my friends and I were among their first customers 18 years ago. Back then the place was mellow and they played chilled Cuban music. But as Poco raged and ruled the Alphabet City brunch scene, Cortadito decided to adopt their business model—bottomless booze, loud dance music—to compete. And it worked. At times, it seemed that Cortadito and Poco had melded together into one big, loud, drunken weekend brunch party. That said, it was still an elegant destination for a quiet dinner, particularly on weeknights. Weekday lunches seemed pleasant as well.

I wish them well and I'm sure they will find another place that works for them.

Anonymous said...

The original owner of the building passed away and the building went to his niece who is raising the rent to a ridiculous amount. My family eats at Cafe Cortadito at least once a week and Ricardo and Patricia will be sorely missed. Incredible people and authentic and delicious Cuban food.

Yes brunch got loud but what other choice does a neighbor of the obnoxious rat trap that is Poco have? There is no such thing as going for a quiet brunch when you are a couple feet from Poco.

Hoping they find another spot soon and can’t wait to be there at the opening.

Anonymous said...

I loved that place. Wish the owners best of luck

Anonymous said...

poco can rot in hell if they think they're going to expand. I've been waiting for THEM to go!

Unknown said...

Sorry to hear about this from Canada, it seems like a fantastic business. We're experiencing a similar spate of beloved local businesses being pushed out of neighbourhoods.

Our team is exploring commercial rent reform at commercialrent.ca so we can keep local businesses local!

Anonymous said...

I am so sad about this. One of my last long time neighborhood favorites. 😢 I hope they find a place and reopen soon. They are deeply missed already.