It may be last call for lattes at Cafe Pick Me Up, the coffee shop that's been holding down the corner at Avenue A and 9th Street for the past 20 years. Staff at the cafe told EV Grieve that they'll shutter at the end of the month, following months of rumors that they'd be downsizing instead of fading away all together. That may still be a possibility, according to Kristen S., an assistant manager with whom we spoke this afternoon, but it's not set in stone.
As you may have already guessed, a rent increase is at the root of the problem. The building that houses the cafe, 145 Avenue A, was sold to Icon Realty for $10.1 million last spring. Now it seems the new owners are bumping up the rent to $15,000 a month, a figure not sustainable for the owners. "I don't know who can afford that much rent," manager Rossella Palazzo told DNAinfo last month.
A representative of Icon Realty did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Luckily for staff and for regulars who need their morning pick me up, the cafe will live on in some form down the street at Gnocco, an Italian eatery owned by the same people. "We're moving June 3rd," Kristen told us. "We're still going to have our breakfast and some of our staff moved. They're usually just doing dinner, but now we're going to be serving breakfast, lunch, brunch and dinner, cocktails. We're going to expand a little as well."