Will they never learn?

A new café has just opened up in my immediate neighborhood.
And it will be closed in less than a month. Trust me.
It’s not that I want it to close; I love that little mom and pop businesses start up and thrive all over the area. Hell, most of central Lincoln Square is made up of these little storefronts. And I frequent them all. I get soaps and sundries at Merz Apothecary, I buy candles and scarves and special gifts at the Museum of Decorative Art, I pick up brats and beer at Delicatessen Meyer — like I said, love the mom and pops.
But this place? It’s going under.
For starters, the name: Café Marrakech Espress-O. And it’s spelled that way. With the “O” bigger than everything else and all tilted. And I get the pun, okay? Marrakech Express but with an “O” attached – I get it. But it doesn’t work.
And did we really need another coffeehouse/café in the area? At the corner of Leland and Damen, there’s The Perfect Cup, which deeply resents the success (and invasion) of Starbucks, and tends to serve you coffee with a grumble if Starbucks is even mentioned, but it’s run by a couple of really nice sisters and the atmosphere is laid-back and comfy. Not half a block away is new kid on the block, Sweet Occasions, which is primarily an ice cream slinging sweet shop, but doubles in the morning as a coffeehouse, serving only the finest Kona coffee. Or something. I never go there.
So what I’m saying is, we’re pretty much full up on coffeehouses. Which suits the Marrakech Espress-O just fiiiine. Because they’re going one step further. And they’re serving meatball tagine and curried lamb kabobs. I…I’ve seen the building they moved into and…it is not ZONED for food. Especially food that requires preservation and anti-bacterial preparation methods. I mean, really.
I feel bad every time I pass by and there’s no one in there. They’ve even put up pictures of their food, you know, to entice people inside to get…baba ganoush with a side of food poisoning. I’m going to bite the bullet and go in there and get a coffee this weekend because…because I just feel sad for them that their business is going to fail soon.
Now, if they started selling dollar beers and Basic cigarettes and catering to the Drunken Eejit set that carouse around my neighborhood as if it’s their alcohol-soaked backyard, they’d actually STAY in business.
I’d never go there, but they’d at least be able to pay their bills.

1 Comment so far

  1. liz (unregistered) on July 15th, 2004 @ 10:46 am

    Where is this place? On Damen?
    Have you checked out the OTHER new coffeeshop on Lincoln?
    The Grind…
    They are really pushing the free wifi and the cup of coffee i had yesterday was great.

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