Raphael D'Lugoff writes in that "Once upon a Tart on Sullivan Street, south of Houston, will likely close in September." It's been there since 1992.
The rent has gone up to $20,000 a month. You have to wonder, if the rent's too damn high for a high-end bakery and caterer like Once Upon a Tart, then who can afford it?
Once Upon a Tart
From there, the situation gets a little complicated. Navy, a popular restaurant two doors down, wants to buy out Once Upon a Tart--but they want a liquor license in the deal, something that many people in the neighborhood don't want them to have.
The SoHo Alliance told The Villager that Navy's plan is "a Trojan horse to introduce a new party venue." The owner of Navy also ran the infamous Beatrice Inn.
Now signs have appeared inside the cafe, urging customers to "Help save Once Upon a Tart," and arguing that if they don't get a liquor license, they'll be replaced by a corporate chain.
As Soho Strut first made clear, the new venture will be Once Upon a Tart in name only. She writes that the owners of Navy plan to "expand on the concept but keep the name, Once Upon A Tart, to create a restaurant open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner." And that "The only way that [the Navy owners] suggest this is financially feasible is with a full liquor license (liquor, wine and beer)."
The sign doesn't mention the change of ownership, which does feel rather Trojan Horsey.
The sign writers use the "Better Than a Bank" or "Better Than a Chain" scare tactic we've seen so many times. "Do you love the neighborhood?" it asks, then "Stop the Epidemic of Chain stores coming to the Village." And "We don't want another chain coffee shop or corporate clothing store."
The upshot is: Give us a liquor license, or you'll end up with a Starbucks.
Wherever you fall on the issue, you can weigh in tomorrow, August 12 at 6:30, when the Community Board meets again at St. Anthony's on Sullivan St. *CORRECTION: At Judson Church, Thompson. Double check before you go.