Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Marquet Cafe


A tipster wrote in a few weeks ago to report that Di Fiore Marquet Cafe on East 12th had its last day in business after 22 years.

While there has been no official word from the owner, no goodbye sign on the door, Marquet has remained shuttered and untouched since, the tables all set for customers who will never come again.

An employee has posted on their Facebook page: "Out of business, thanks for your patronage."

I don't know why Marquet closed, only that it's been darkened under scaffolding for quite some time, due to the construction of parking garage turned high-end luxury condo building 17 East 12, where the owners consider 12th and University to be "one of the most sought-after areas of the city," reminiscent of "the historic Gold Coast."

The block is changing. In addition to 17 East 12, the Bowlmor building is going luxury condo, too. The stationery store shut down recently, chains are moving in. And let's not forget the loss of 12th Street Books back in 2008.

Celeste di Fiore, via Homegrown

I never went to Marquet, so I will leave its description to this article from The Examiner's Leann Lavin a few years back:

"...it is owner Celeste Di Fiore who is the real-deal charmer – the Elaine of the downtown, Village cohort. For more than 10 years, she's looked after her customers like a doting, sometimes worrisome, always supportive, can’t-help-herself favorite friend or aunt. The customers are neighborhoodies: from the nearby Forbes magazine staff, the creative artists and patrons of the Salmagundi artist colony; writers and authors; along with students and professors from the Cardoza law school on the corner, or NYU. There are the quiet celebrities: Meryl Streep, Sean Pean and Giada De Laurentiis' mom, to name a few. Like a butterfly, Celeste can be seen alighting at a table to ask about the customer's latest book, or another’s health, or to agree with another about the neighborhood’s lack of a grocery store due to changing real estate."


Grand St. said...

*Cardozo, *Sean Penn

Anonymous said...

DE FIORE MARQUET arrivederci...Well, i did eat at De Fiore Marquet: ALL THE TIME. I called it "the Annex" at one point and would opt to eat there over Gotham's corporate atmosphere any day (even if i won the Lotto). I still cannot figure out where to eat brunch without go East or West. The piece on Celeste is spot on. i let her know she put the village back in village when she took over the French bakery. There is a Closed/Sorry sign apologetically attached to the front door and no further information to be divulged publicly. This establishment is already sorely missed. Jack's was a boring cafe with tasteless food that i hardly noticed (open or closed), but De Fiore Marquet, especially in the period when the fabulous lesbian chef was whipping up her Brazilian specialties, has been a necessary part of my daily life without anything in the vicinity that comes close. It seems to be truly the end of an era in my "no man's land" neighborhood between east and west villages.

Leeann said...

Thank you so much for calling attention to the loss of our beloved local restaurant, Marquet Cafe. It was indeed a classic - along with longtime owner, Celeste. I'd seen the shuttered front but kept hoping it was closed for a holiday retreat. We need to honor these extraordinary, artful eateries and the dedicated staff who were like family… I will miss Marquet very much - it was my go-to neighborhood place and meeting spot. I am honored you included part of my Examiner restaurant review in your blog….

LESgoner said...

how sad! I worked in the area for 15 years and now nearly every place I loved has or is disappearing. Now this!

Fiore de Marquet was a wonderful cafe, and Madame Celeste was a lovely woman, who created a charming eatery for us.

Places like Marquet are part of the joys of living in NYC that are being swallowed up - by what, exactly that adds to the quality of NYC life?

I'm not opposed to change but as I prepare to be evicted from my own building, I wonder if I'll really mind leaving the city, after experiencing the gentrification up close. Fiore de Marquet got caught in it too, I'm afraid

Anonymous said...

The last laugh may be when all the condo owners step out of their apartments and their only choice will be some corporate chain store with molded plastic chairs. Oh, but it may not be open, because the people who were hired to run it live three hours away... and they're stuck in a snowstorm. Sounds like a plan.

Leeann said...

C'est vrai, - so true. so sad. I agree with what you LESgoner and Anonymous wrote. PULEEZ do not say molded plastic chairs - it offends our Village sensibilities...
There is indeed something creepy going on in that the entire block is shuttering… :(
We must find out what is going on… We must pay tribute to all those who were our neighborhood family.
Especially Madame Celeste. Homegrown hugs.

Leeann said...

So true, Anonymous -- so sad -- and true. We need our neighborhood people who make up the personality and lifestyle of a place - can't do that by remote control. The people and charm that develop over time -- it's why people can "feel" the Village vs the UWS or BKLYN or….